AMBITIOUS plans to build two new primary schools in York have moved a step closer - despite strong opposition to one scheme.

Members of City of York Council's planning committee granted outline permission to create new buildings for Hob Moor Primary School, in Acomb, and St Barnabas Primary School, in Leeman Road.

The schemes will be funded through an £8.3 million Private Finance Initiative (PFI), which was approved by the Government last spring.

At St Barnabas, the council proposes to replace the existing outdated building, in Bright Street, with a new building on open space behind Cinder Lane.

But some residents say the development is an "outrage" as it would destroy valuable green space and present a flood risk.

Opinion is divided over whether the site actually flooded in November, 2000.

"Our local community cherishes this land and people come from across the city to use it," resident Kate Youngjohns told the meeting.

"The peace and quiet of the riverside will be destroyed with this development."

She also said that increasing the risk of houses flooding, however minimal, was "unacceptable".

Coun Quentin MacDonald said: "We shouldn't be faced here with a debate over whether it did or didn't flood. Somebody must have an idea."

The council proposes to raise the ground by 450mm to decrease the risk of flooding.

Coun Steve Galloway said: "Anyone who has been into the existing site will see that the standards are not acceptable for the 21st century. This scheme, on balance, represents a step forward for the local community."

Coun Ken King said: "The community have a lot to gain from this. They've needed a new school building for decades."

At Hob Moor, the council proposes to demolish the existing building and replace it with a children's centre comprising a primary school, a special school, early years centre, family centre and Sure Start centre.

Councillors have asked officers to cut the proposed number of parking spaces from 138 as they say it does not encourage walking or the use of public transport.

Updated: 14:29 Friday, June 27, 2003