MORE THAN 36 acres of farmland in northern Monmouthshire could be sold by the local authority to help fund new schools.

Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet will meet on Wednesday to approve the disposal of land between Llanishen and Trellech.

The land, which came into council ownership earlier this year, has been deemed surplus to requirements as no internal use has been found.

A report, written by the council’s principal estates surveyor Gareth King, says: “Provided the land is declared surplus to requirements, it would then be offered for sale on the open market, in order to generate the greatest possible capital receipt for the council.”

Cabinet members are faced with two options, the first being to sell the land and use any revenue to support the 21st Century Schools programme.

The programme, which is jointly funded by the council and the Welsh Government, has seen £83 million spent on two new secondary schools in Caldicot and Monmouth.

But the project was hit with unexpected costs, forcing the council to approve further spending of £5 million in October 2016 to avoid an overspend.

The council is now preparing for the programme’s second stage, which will see Abergavenny’s King Henry VIII school redeveloped and a Welsh medium school built in the town.

Plans to defer the development of new school in Chepstow to a newly-established third project phase had courted contention from local councillors last October.

Alternatively, cabinet could opt to retain and re-let the land, but Mr King said: “Having reviewed the matter, taking account of the need to fund the 21st Century Schools programme disposal is considered the best option.”

To sell the land councillors must agree to part with £5,000 to cover any costs incurred during the disposal process.

Cabinet members were due to meet at County Hall yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss the proposals.