DESPITE the slump in the housing market, Newport city council will press ahead with plans to sell land at two secondary schools.

The council is proceeding with plans to sell 22.6 acres at Hartridge Farm Road and 14.2 acres of surplus land at Bettws Secondary School. These sites will be sold for residential developments.

Both were identified for disposal to raise vital funds for the council’s Secondary School Redevelopment Programme.

This will see the city’s three secondary schools - Duffryn, Hartridge and Bettws - rebuilt in an effort to transform the learning environment for children across the city.

Cabinet member for resources Peter Davies decided on Wednesday to dispose of the land following a period of consultation. A timetable for the sales will be implemented immediately.

The site at Hartridge is owned by the council and held by the leisure department. It is identified in the council’s eastern expansion area supplementary planning guidance for residential development. Surplus land at Bettws High School, also owned by the council, is held by the education department as part of the existing secondary school. It has outline planning consent for residential development.

In February it was announced that work on a new £30 million school in Hartridge will begin next year and is expected to be completed by 2012.

The money for this will come from borrowing, grants and a £15 million investment from the Assembly.

The Assembly pledged money from its strategic capital investment fund to help work on the three schools.

The rebuilding of Bettws High School is nearly complete while it is hoped money raised from future council land sales will help fund the rebuilding of Duffryn High School.

A Newport city council spokesman said: “The cabinet member for resources has made a decision to dispose of the land (at Hartridge and Bettws) for residential development on terms to be agreed by the council’s head of law and standards.”