STUDENT housing can be built in empty former council offices in the city centre after planners had a change of heart over noise nuisance.

Listed buildings on George Hudson Street, which have lain empty since the City of York Council moved out in West Offices, are now to be converted into 58 studio student flats.

The plans were approved by the council's planning committee on Thursday, in a meeting in which 60 houses on the former Del Monte site in Skelton, and 215 houses on the Clifton grain silos site were also given the go ahead.

Forshaw Land and Property Group's plans for George Hudson Street had looked likely to fail with environmental health workers worried that noise from the busy road and nearby pubs and clubs would disturb people living in the new flats.

But environmental health officer Anthony Dean told Thursday's meeting that another look at the data had changed their minds.

He said that although monitoring showed noise levels higher than the 45 decibels they usually accept, they did stay within World Health Organisation guidelines.

He also said the council should insist on noise testing once new glass is installed.

Councillors raised some concerns about the loss of office space, saying there would be consequences for jobs, but eventually voted by 12 to two to approve the plans.

The Del Monte plans were considered after roads planners made changes to the scheme to make sure people living in the new houses could safely get across the A19 into Skelton village.

Committee members had deferred their decision from a meeting in January, but on Thursday followed planners' advice to approve the scheme which now includes changes to the road layout to slow vehicles down, and will see builders contribute £5000 to look at the introduction of a 40 mph limit on the A19 through Skelton.

Approval was also given for work to start on building 215 homes at Clifton grain silos, 10 years after the grain stores closed; and the University of York was given permission to build a new teaching building on Spring Lane, Heslington.