PLANS to bulldoze an old school building in York have been given the go-ahead on appeal.

Back in November 2005, City of York Council refused an outline planning application to redevelop the old St Barnabas' CE School site in Bright Street, and build houses there.

But York Diocesan Board of Education appealed against the decision, and their appeal has been upheld by a Government inspector.

Concern was expressed by some local residents and councillors about the proposed demolition of the former school building at the time of the application.

But inspector Richard Morley said in his report: "I find that I do not agree with the objectors and the council's views on the buildings quality and status. It cannot be regarded as a landmark' building.

"I fully accept that the school building is a treasured element of local heritage for some objectors.

"However, that in itself does not justify dismissing the appeal."

The inspector's judgement has been welcomed by the York Diocese of the Church of England.

St Barnabas Community School is the first of three schools to open under City of York Council's multi-million pound Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schools initiative, which sees schools built using both public and private money.

Earlier this year the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, was taken on a tour of the building, which was officially opened in November last year. Dr Sentamu went on to give a talk to staff and pupils.

The school moved to Jubilee Terrace, near Leeman Road, from nearby Bright Street, where it had been for 125 years.

Head teacher Helen Davey said: "Everyone is really delighted with the new building.

"The children seem to be really happy, playing out in their lovely big playground."

The new building boasts four classrooms, with room for 120 pupils, plus a bespoke 50-place early years unit.

The inspector's decision means the renewal of St Barnabas' School will be completed by the sale of the old site for redevelopment.

It is not yet known how much money will be raised by the sale.

Proceeds will be divided between the Parish of St Barnabas, City of York Council for provision of the new school, and the Diocese of York's education funds.

The diocese funds support 128 Church of England schools between the Tees and the Humber and from the A1 eastwards to the coast.

Martin Sheppard, spokesman for the Diocese of York, said: "We hope the parish's share of the sale proceeds will help with plans for new community meeting facilities inside St Barnabas' Church building.

"St Barnabas' School was founded more than a century ago to support family life in the Leeman Road area, and both the new school and the proposed conversion of part of the church will be very much in that same spirit."