A PETITION against plans for housing on part of a York school’s playing fields has been handed in to City of York Council.

The petition has been signed by hundreds of residents living in streets near the Mount School -Towton Avenue, Moorgarth Avenue, Mount Vale Drive, The Mount and St Aubyn’s Place - who have formed the Mount Vale Community campaign.

It is urging the council’s planning committee to reject an application to build 12 executive homes at the lower end of the school’s playing field.

Group chairman Murray Rose said the petition was signed by 122 households out of 128 occupied houses in the five affected streets, and a further 116 had signed online.

He said the group believed the application should be rejected on several grounds including the importance of protecting school playing fields and increased surface water run-off exacerbating existing drainage and sewage problems. They also believed the application contravened local and regional planning policy.

He said: “Councillors need to think long and hard about this application. A dangerous precedent would be set if a school playing field could be deemed to be ‘redundant’ just because someone declares it to be so.

“There is an audited and agreed shortage of playing fields in Micklegate Ward and in neighbouring wards. How can this field be redundant?”

The school, whose former pupils include Dame Judi Dench, has responded previously to residents’ objections by saying capital released from sale of the land would be reinvested in the school, enhancing sports and performing arts facilities.

It said developers Mulgrave Properties had held a public meeting at the school in July, when local residents had been invited to hear about the proposals and discuss any concerns.

The Press reported recently that the school lost more than a quarter of a million pounds last year, with further deficits expected this year and next year, but it was vowing to bounce back with an ambitious multi-million pound investment plan, giving it a secure and flourishing future.

It has now emerged that the school is also selling part of a former boarding house in Driffield Terrace for £850,000.

A spokeswoman said the boarding accommodation had been created out of two separate homes combined and they would now be separated again, with one of the properties to be sold as a house while the other continued as boarding for the school.