A replacement school would be built on recreation grounds
Plans to replace two Cardiff secondary schools with one on a new site have been approved by the Welsh Assembly Government despite local objections.
Opponents to the plans by Cardiff council have complained that the new school will be built on land reserved for recreational use.
A planned replacement for the schools at Llanrumney and Rumney has been described as a "state of the art".
The new school is expected to be ready in the school year 2012/2013.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews approved the council's proposal to close the two schools and build a new 1,500-pupil school for 11 to 16-year-olds on the Rumney Recreation Ground, following local opposition.
Keith Jones, from the Rumney Recreation and Eastern Leisure Centre Action Group (RREEL), who have opposed the plans, said he was "incredulous" at the decision.
He said: "It's extraordinary that the assembly has decided that the views of the community, who are overwhelmingly against the plans, are not important."
Councillors first voted to close Llanrumney and Rumney high schools in December 2008 as part of a number of planned schemes by the council to tackle more than 8,000 surplus places in the city's schools.
Councillor Freda Salway, executive member for education and lifelong learning, said: "The council has been facing the issue of surplus places in schools, which is a waste of valuable resources that could otherwise be channelled into children's education.
Backlog of repairs
"In addition to this, there is a backlog of repairs in our school buildings that means children are being educated in surroundings that are not fit-for-purpose."
She added: "The plan for the reorganisation of schools in the east of the city will deliver a brand new, 21st Century secondary school for the children of that area and will remove a large number of surplus places."
The plans for the new school include a commitment to re-develop the Eastern Leisure Centre.
In a referendum of local residents on the plans in February 2009, 93% voted against the plans, on a turnout of 27.6%.
RREEL has complained that the council had ignored the referendum result, an 8,000 signature petition and 3,500 letters of objections.
The group also claimed that the council was proposing the areas were being sold off "to fund city-wide school re-organisation".
But the council has given assurances that all proceeds from the sale of land of the existing schools will be spent on the new school.
Mr Jones said the council continued to ignore a suitable site for the newly-merged school in St Mellons.
He said: "There is a perfectly good site for the new school available but the council has decided that this land is surplus to educational requirements.
"This is because they want to sell that land to housing developers".