A YORK school is planning an expansion into a nearby historic listed building.

The fee-paying Minster School wants to find more room for its pre-prep department and bosses have made a planning application to City of York Council to convert the neighbouring "White House" into more classrooms.

The school, based on Deangate near the Minster, is the only standalone independent preparatory school in York but planning documents show it is struggling with limited space especially in the pre prep and nursery departments.

Headteacher Alex Donaldson said: "We have been working on this for quite a while and look on it as an exciting new venture and a sign of the Chapter's confidence in the school and out continuing good health.

"The plans will give a new lease of life to a handsome, venerable York landmark."

The building was once the headmaster's house for the school but has also housed a group of nuns connected to the Minster and until 18 months ago was rented out as a private home.

Planning papers show the school lacks meeting rooms, but more crucially is short of classroom space for young children in the pre prep department, and has no "free-flow" outdoor access for nursery children.

The school has asked Arroll and Snell architects, who have also worked on York Minster and St William's College, to draw up plans for the grade II listed building.

The proposals they have come up with include a single storey extension to house a nursery classroom, as well as the removal of some walls in the existing historic building to create more space in the ground floor, and putting in new staircases, corridors and toilets, as well as creating a covered outdoor classroom. Although the buildings would not be connected the outdoor space would be merged to created a bigger play area for pupils.

Mr Donaldson added: "We see this as a quantitative rather than qualitative expansion. We don't think the school is getting any bigger with this."

York's Civic Trust have already made an objection to the plans, saying they are worried about some of the changes to the listed building.

In a letter to the planners the Trust's Dr David Fraser has praised the "thoughtful and detailed approach to the archaeology" of the significant site, which dates back to the 14th or 15th century, but raised concerns which he said need to be cleared up before permission can be given to alter the building.

They want to see questions answered over whether any of the 18th century fixtures and fittings will be affected by the proposals, and have also asked whether work will take place near an original medieval timber frame which it would be "wholly unacceptable" to remove.