A SCHOOL has been given the go-ahead for new developments by councillors.

Nortonthorpe Hall School at Scissett is set to create a new dining area and activity centre.

Staff say it will vastly improve the service they give the pupils, who have behavioural problems. The school takes pupils excluded from mainstream education.

But the decision has upset local residents, as historic Nortonthorpe Hall looks set to be demolished to make way for the new building, a car park and play area.

The plan is to knock down the old building as part of a wider scheme to erect a single-storey dining and activity centre.

Members of Kirklees Council's Heavy Woollen Planning Sub-committee yesterday passed the decision on to officers to thrash out the conditions and details.

Three residents who attended the meeting at Dewsbury Town Hall said they were dismayed by the move.

"It's cultural vandalism," said protester Judith Longman. "They are replacing a third of the facilities of the old building for double the cost."

She added that the hall gave a distinctive character to Busker Lane.

Similar building plans to the ones passed yesterday were withdrawn at the start of the year because planning committee members felt security matters had not been properly addressed - either ensuring the safety of pupils or people living nearby.

Local residents also wanted assurances there was no hidden expansion plan.

Kirklees assistant director of education Margaret Parker said: "Our commitment is to try and do what we can to support the residents, as well as the school, to provide a safe and secure environment."

She said the proposals had been under consideration for two years.

The cost of upgrading Nortonthorpe Hall itself was too high, added Ms Parker.