PLANS for 12 homes to be built on part of the playing field at a top York independent school have been given the green light - despite opposition from neighbours.

The Mount School wants to dispose of an unused portion of land at the bottom of its playing fields and use the money from the sale to improve its performing arts and sports facilities.

The school already has planning permission to extend part of its existing building to create a dance and drama studio. And a council planning meeting heard that proposals for all-weather sports facilities and an extension to the netball and tennis courts will also be put forward.

But residents object to plans for homes to be built on the land behind Towton Avenue, saying they will exacerbate traffic problems on local streets and also surface water flooding issues.

Murray Rose, speaking at the meeting, said: “We represent the Mount Vale community, with 95 per cent of affected households strongly opposing this application. Playing fields cannot be built on unless certain exceptions are met and this application does not meet them.”

A report said 119 people signed a petition against the scheme.

And Micklegate Cllr Johnny Hayes criticised the development, saying it would mean the loss of playing fields in the area.

He said: “Micklegate is quite clearly an area where the lack of sporting facilities is quite predominant.

“It is a local issue which is obviously concerning to councillors and all three of the ward councillors would want to oppose this development on the basis of the sorry the loss of playing fields.

“I gather that the school is looking at expanding in the future I gather that there may it may be further demand for spaces like this if they do manage to achieve that ambition.”

As a condition of planning approval, site developers Mulgrave and the Helmsley Group will pay more than £47,000 towards a new playing field at 235 Tadcaster Road to compensate for the loss of sports land.

Paul Leeming, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said: “These housing proposals have emerged following some five years of engagement with council officers about options for the Mount School to generate funds to upgrade its facilities, many of which are available for public use. Care has been given to protecting the amenity of existing residents and there will be no detriment beyond the loss of the view of a private school playing field.”

Cllr Denise Craghill asked why more affordable homes could not be built at the site but was told developers said it “would not be appropriate” on the land.

Councillors voted by a majority to approve the planning application.