WORK is to start in the summer on a £1.9million upgrade at a school in York.

Planners confirmed approval of the scheme at Danesgate Community School just before Christmas as part of a £2.7million scheme, which will also see improvements to Applefields School, which was also announced last year.

Completion of the scheme at Danesgate at Fulford Cross is due in September.

It will involve a single storey extension to its pupil support building. The existing coach house would be demolished and a single storey building with a flat roof would be put up instead.

The upgrade also includes an infill extension to the Bridge Centre and a timber frame animal house, and a new patio deck for the Skill Centre, plus extra disabled parking spaces in the car park and lay by within the school boundary fence. A new boundary fence to the playing field will also be put up.

Danesgate Community is a large special school of around 220 pupils aged five to 16, many with complex social, emotional and education needs.

City of York Council says the number of children and young people with Social and Mental Health Needs (SEMH) is increasing in York and across the UK and the Danesgate site needs to be adapted to “ensure the site is better able to offer specialist education.”

The planning application said it was not intended to increase pupil numbers, but to make better use of existing facilities and make them more suitable.

A report by council planning staff said no comments were received by the local parish council concerning the planning application but two neighbours were concerned about the animals to be kept on the site.

But the report said they would be small animals, such as rabbits, and “would be unlikely to impact on neighbour amenity through noise or odours.”

Approving the scheme, planning staff concluded the changes would not significantly impact on the capacity of the school, but would “largely enhance the facilities” and “increase the quality of school provision.”

The actual increase in floor size was ‘modest’ and would not generate much extra traffic.

Cllr Ian Cuthbertson, executive member for education, said: “The investment will improve existing facilities, in order to help meet the needs of the pupils and give York's young people the best start in life.

“The planned upgrades will provide classrooms and teaching spaces which are of a more suitable size for teaching small groups of students - this should improve the students’ learning experience and make better use of the available space.

“It is planned that most of the work will be done during the school summer holidays, so as not to add to school traffic/parking on Fulford Cross and to minimise any disruption from construction work.”

He added: “Local residents will be kept informed of when the work is being carried out.”