WORK has finally got under way to turn a former York primary school into homes.

Diggers have moved in and started clearing and excavating the playground at the old Shipton Street School site which has been derelict and boarded up for more than nine years since the school closed.

Work on transforming the buildings which once housed Shipton Street School in Clifton into 37 new homes have been dogged by delays for several years, despite appeals from local residents to rid the area of the eyesore.

Advent Developments, which is behind the Shipton Mews scheme, next to York City’s Bootham Crescent ground, sought financial backing from a national housebuilding initiative designed to push forward schemes which have stalled.

Paul Landais-Stamp, City of York Council’s housing strategy manager, said: “City of York Council introduced Advent to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), and supported its bid for which, subject to agreement on conditions, the HCA has agreed to provide funding for the scheme through the government’s Get Britain Building programme.

“We understand that Advent is also in discussions with their main funder for the scheme which aims to deliver much-needed housing – including affordable homes – and we continue to have a constructive dialogue with both Advent and the HCA.”

The listed school building was originally considered as a potential new home for the Arc Light homeless centre, but the idea was dropped following local opposition.

The new homes are expected to be two storeys high and the development would include gated access, a courtyard and green space.

Clifton councillor Ken King said: “It’s good news for that part of the city.

“There’s a lot of work gone into coming up with plans for the site and getting them through both on the part of the council and the developers and I’m delighted to see they are finally coming to fruition.

“It’s a wonderful scheme that they putting forward and it will be of real benefit to the area around the site.”