A HISTORIC former York school’s days appear to be numbered as developers look set to win a long-running battle to create new family homes on the site.

Planners are expected to approve proposals by Daniel Gath Homes Ltd to demolish the now-disused St Barnabas CE Primary School – which dates back to 1884 – and replace it with eight houses.

The Victorian building in Bright Street, off Leeman Road, housed pupils until they moved to new premises in nearby Jubilee Terrace in 2005 and has been at the centre of a development wrangle ever since.

In 2007, Daniel Gath originally wanted to turn it into a 14-flat complex, but the scheme was thrown out by City of York Council, which said too many apartments and not enough family housing was being built in York.

The developers subsequently lodged an appeal with the national planning inspectorate, only to be rejected again – forcing them to go back to the drawing board.

Now the revamped scheme, which would provide four two-bedroom and four three-bedroom houses, has been recommended for approval when the council’s west and city centre area planning sub-committee meets on Thursday That could mean a cash boost for the Diocese of York, which feared it would lose £400,000 which would be used to create new community facilities if the sale of the site fell through and it remained undeveloped.

Holgate councillor Denise Bowgett – who, together with her fellow ward representatives, Sonja Crisp and James Alexander, backed the original rejection – said: “I support the application for eight terrace houses on the former St Barnabas School site. This is a sensible application as York needs family-size houses and not more flats and apartments. I have previously represented residents who object to the overdevelopment of properties in the Leeman Road area and I am pleased that this developer has listened to their views.

“I am also glad the application has made provision for parking and access, both of which can be a major problem in Leeman Road.”

When national inspector Simon Berkeley turned down Daniel Gath’s plans to build flats almost a year ago, he left the door open for the developers to reconsider their ideas by saying the school “could not be regarded as a landmark building” as it was “bleak and forbidding” and of “limited value”.

But he said the council’s own assessments of housing demand in York suggested family homes were needed more than flats, with Holgate councillors backing his decision.

Tony Warren, of St Barnabas Church parochial church council, had previously told The Press that delaying the development would hinder any plans to bring “quality community facilities” to the Leeman Road areas.