A FORMER York special school should continue in educational use, according to a council report.

Fulford Cross special school, off Fulford Road, was closed in the summer of 2004 and the old building - renamed Danesgate - already houses the city's pupil support centre for troubled teenagers.

Now a report to go before City of York Council's executive member for resources advisory panel says the site, which at one time was considered for housing, should continue its current use - and be expanded.

It also says local residents should now be consulted over the plans which propose building a new vocational training centre for up to 30 teenagers aged between 14 and 16 on the old school playground.

The report rules out the possibility of building homes on the site, as the cost of relocating the existing facilities would be too great.

In 2004, the Evening Press reported City of York Council received a £2.4 million funding boost from the Government, and decided to go ahead with the project for a new centre using that money and its own cash.

The expanded skills centre would be run in partnership with Askham Bryan College, York College and the Learning And Skills Council, along with NYBEP (North Yorkshire Business And Education Partnership) and Connexions.

It would be built on land currently occupied by an old temporary classroom block, and part of the old school playground.

Fishergate ward councillor Andy D'Agorne said: "The development of the site for educational use is certainly what local people wanted all along. This has enabled a nature reserve area on the site to remain, as it was also a concern that this could be damaged."

The old Fulford Cross School closed in June 2004, after pupil numbers fell from 183 in 1980 to only 15.

There was local opposition to houses being put on the site, and Peggy Mellers, the founder of the Friends Of Fulford Cross Nature Reserve, said the group remained opposed to any development of the site for housing.

She said: "Whatever happens, we will stay in existence as a group and monitor the situation. And if, in two years' time, the council changes its mind we will reactivate ourselves, as this land is totally unsuitable for building."

No planning application has yet been submitted, and officers will consult local residents this month and next to find out their views.

The report recommends Danesgate should be retained for educational use, that the current facilities remain on the site and the skills centre is built.

The proposals will come before council resources chief Quentin McDonald and his advisory panel at a meeting in the Guildhall on Monday.

Updated: 10:21 Tuesday, February 14, 2006