WORK on transforming the site of a former York school into a housing complex has been delayed at least next year.

Developers won permission in 2008 to convert the buildings which once housed Shipton Street School, in Clifton, into 37 homes and a community office, but the scheme has since been dogged by delays.

Despite appeals by local residents to move the scheme forward and remove the “eyesore” which currently stands on the site, the firm behind the project says the economic climate means they will not be in a position to begin work until the New Year, and then only if a building firm can be found to take on the construction.

The school building, next to York City FC’s Bootham Crescent ground, has now been empty for more than eight years. In 2005, the community staved off an attempt to rehouse the Arc Light homeless centre there.

“We are still working on the scheme and waiting to get on site and initiate it,” said Tim Reeve, managing director of Advent Developments.

“But there are challenges in the marketplace and although we are working with a building contractor and hope we can start sometime in the new year, it is based on the ability to fund the development.

“It is also a listed building and there are some planning conditions which are taking longer than expected to address. The scheme is long overdue and we’re committed to regenerating a local landmark in a way which has been well-received by residents.”

The project, dubbed Shipton Mews, is intended to include gated access and a courtyard area as well as an area of green space. The homes are expected to be two storeys high.

Clifton councillor Ken King, said: “I feel quite frustrated about the delay because myself and other ward councillors, as well as local residents, have given the scheme 100 per cent support and hoped it would have started by now.

“We understand the problems caused by the current financial climate, but we just hope they can get on with it soon. It’s a fantastic proposal with immense local support and people want to see it moved on.”