Children in York were celebrating today after their schools won a three-year fight for new buildings.

They can now bid farewell to the tatty accommodation they have had to put up with for years, after the Government gave the green light to a £15 million regeneration plan.

Hob Moor Junior and Hob Moor Infant Schools' "tin school" buildings, built in the 1950s from corrugated aluminium, and the old cramped buildings at St Oswald's Primary School in Fulford and St Barnabas CE Primary School in Leeman Road, are all to be replaced.

The decision follows lengthy lobbying on the part of the schools and an Evening Press campaign which highlighted the cramped and substandard accommodation.

The plan will see building contracts signed in 2002 or 2003 and the new buildings could be ready for September 2004.

Detailed plans have yet to be drawn up, but the bid is likely to involve the Hob Moor schools and St Barnabas sharing their new buildings with the community and St Oswald's sharing its with Fulford Library.

The City of York Council's education department has been trying to get approval for the rebuilds for three years and has been backed by York MP Hugh Bayley and John Grogan MP, whose Selby constituency includes Fulford.

The scheme will be funded by private and public sector cash, which the council will pay back over 25 years in an arrangement similar to a mortgage.

Frances Garside, deputy head at Hob Moor Junior School, said today: "We're absolutely delighted. We're so pleased for the children and the community. They've waited for too long to have a decent educational building.

"I think it is going to be a focus for community development, and it will lift morale, not only for children, but for staff and for the whole area."

Tim Lucas, deputy head at St Barnabas, said: "We're just delighted and excited about new development at St Barnabas. It's much-needed."

And Jane Williamson, chairwoman of governors at St Oswald's, said: "I think the schools and the communities they serve can look forward to having some fantastic new schools. I would just like to thank the two MPs and Councillor Janet Looker, and thank all those at the LEA for all their hard work in finally managing to get us these bids."

Coun Looker, executive member for education, said she was delighted and said discussions would start immediately with schools, councillors and the communities to come up with detailed plans that best served the schools and their neighbourhoods.

Mr Bayley said: "It's been a long haul but the Government has doubled the funding for new school schemes in the budget and I'm thrilled to bits to have got the go-ahead for these York schools."

And Coun Andrew Waller, whose ward covers Hob Moor, said: "We're obviously delighted for the staff and the pupils and it creates a lot of opportunity in the area for community facilities."

Updated: 16:11 Friday, March 16, 2001