THE FIRST step towards the potential development of a new £28million Roman Catholic school in Torfaen has been taken.

Torfaen council's cabinet approved sending an outline business case for the school to the Welsh Government at a meeting on Tuesday, labelled as a "red letter day" in the development.

Under the Archdiocese of Cardiff's proposals, St Albans RC High School in Pontypool would close along with Cwmbran primaries Our Lady of the Angels RC Primary School and St David’s RC.

The new build, 85 per cent funded by Welsh Government, would provide "world class" Catholic education to pupils aged 3-16-years-old.

A location has yet to be revealed for the proposed 957-place school, but it is hoped it could open by September 2022.

Cllr David Yeowell, executive member for education and life long learning, said: "It could be seen as a red letter day because this morning's report is one of several which will be brought to the cabinet over the next few months regarding the proposal by the Archdiocese of Cardiff."

The plans have come about due to the condition of the existing school buildings, and in particular St Alban's which is in the 'worst' condition out of the three, the meeting heard.

Welsh Government would contribute £23.8 million towards the scheme, the Archdiocese £3.2 million and Torfaen council no more than £1 million.

Cllr Yeowell told the meeting that funding has been approved provisionally by the Welsh Government as the development is contained in its 21st Century Schools Programme.

Cllr David Daniels, a former pupil at St David's RC and St Albans, said he welcomed the plans.

He said: "Even when I was in school - while the education was excellent - the state of the buildings was far from ideal, so I can't imagine what they are like at the moment.

"This is overwhelmingly good news."

Under the plans, the school would have an adjusted capacity to meet ‘true Roman Catholic demand’, with 42 FTE (full time equivalent) places at nursery level, 315 places at primary and 600 for secondary.

A public consultation on the proposed school closures could start in early 2019, with a further consultation on revised admission arrangements planned from 2020.