The opening of two new free schools in Watford and one in Radlett has been approved.

The Watford primary schools, both two form entry, and the Radlett secondary school will be open from September 2014.

Education Secretary, Michael Gove, approved the 102 new free schools applications on Wednesday morning.

These are the first free schools to have been approved in Watford. Free schools are state-funded schools that are outside the control of the local authority.

Ascot Road Community Free School will be built in Ascot Road as part of the redevelopment of the old Royal Mail depot.

West Herts Community Free Schools Trust, of which the University of Hertfordshire is part, has also been successful in their application, with the Watford Town Community Free School due to open in the Lanchester Building next to West Herts College campus, in Hempstead Road.

The announcement was welcomed by Watford MP Richard Harrington, who said the growing shortage of school places, particularly in West Watford, has been a concern for parents in his constituency for years.

Mr Harrington said: "I am delighted because one of the problems we have in Watford is a shortage of school places."

Watford’s MP said he met with Mr Gove shortly after he was elected in 2010 and expressed his concerns about the growing need for more school places.

Mr Harrington said: "We have many great schools in the town and these new schools, under this free school model, will only enhance this and give parents and children an even greater choice."

He added: "I think it’s a great opportunity and will provide more choice for parents and I really believe this is going to lead to excellence."

The news comes just weeks after it was announced that a new University Technical College specialising in computer science, hospitality and tourism is also due to open in Watford in September next year.

Mr Harrington said: "I’m looking for schools with strict discipline and very high academic standards."

The Harperbury Free School will provide 120 places each year for 11 to 18-year-olds, with children from Radlett, Borehamwood, Radlett, Shenley, St Albans and some parts of Potters Bar being eligible to apply.

Applicants for the Harperbury Free School hope it will be built within the grounds of the former Harperbury Hospital, of Harper Lane, Radlett.

Chairman of the Harperbury group, Clive Glover, who has been campaigning for the school for three years, said it is a "tremendous relief" to have made it past the first hurdle.

Mr Glover, of Woodfield Road, will be a director, governor and trustee of the school.

The retired civil servant said: "I want this to be an ultra local school because it can be very tiring for children to have to travel over 20 miles each day.

"Obviously we now need to negotiate with the site owners. I am excited to get the ball rolling."

The 102 new free school applications that have been approved will provide around 50,000 new school places.

There are currently 81 open free schools across the UK, with a further 109 aiming to open in September and beyond.