CAMPAIGNERS against the building of a school on an old waste tip have collected almost 600 letters of objection.

They were responding to a legal notice placed in the Argus by Newport council, stating its intent to allocate land at the Glebelands in the city to build the primary school.

Protesters say their objections to the plans are twofold. They say the school - designed to replace the Durham Road Infant and Junior Schools - would be built on contaminated land and would be a danger to pupils, and that public open space and parkland would be destroyed.

Chris Hill, spokesman for the Glebelands Action Group, said 597 letters - 594 of protest - were presented to the legal department at the civic centre.

He said: "Of those, 200 people have made comments against the proposal to dispose of public open space and parkland.

"Just three people agreed with the council's proposal. People are angry because they feel the council will not listen.

"Residents of St Julian's have attended neighbourhood committee meetings for more than five years and have clearly told our councillors and council officers we don't want this development, and have been totally ignored.

"Our children's health, safety and recreation is of paramount importance. The local council is making this issue secondary.

"The very fact that the council chooses to ignore the Children's Commissioner and local health officials proves to us that they have clearly not looked into this flawed plan." Children's Commiss-ioner Peter Clarke said last August he thought the plans should be halted until more was known about the possible risks to children attending a school on a former landfill site.

But Newport council leader Sir Harry Jones said they would proceed with the plans unless they received advice to the contrary from experts at the National Assembly.

Some letters handed over yesterday called for the parkland to be left alone and for an alternative, non-contaminated site to be found for the new school. The letters will now be considered by Newport council officers for their report into the site.

*PICTURED: John Martin, chairman of the Glebelands Action Group.