A SPECIAL school in Whitefield has been given permission to expand despite opposition from more than 70 people.

Elms Bank Specialist Arts College in Ripon Avenue applied to Bury Council to build 12 new classrooms in a new two-storey building.

Members of Bury planning committee approve the plans, and also granted the school permission to build a common room for students aged 16 to 19, a kitchen and dining area, three hygiene rooms, four group rooms, three offices, two rooms for cleaners and a toilet block.

There will be a multi-use outdoor games area outside and a football pitch will be added.

Initially, there was no plan to increase the number of parking spaces, but after a 70-name petition was lodged, nine parking spots were included.

One Ripon Avenue resident said: “Over the past 30 years, we have seen the school grow and have supported it.

“However, all the extensions on the site have not seen similar growth in the number of parking spots and the parking situation in Ripon Avenue has become dangerous.

“Traffic levels will increase and it won’t be long before there is a serious accident.”

A total of 14 people signed a petition claiming that they would suffer disruption during construction work as an access road will be set up off Ripon Avenue.

One resident, of Heathfield Road, said: “I admire the school for the good work but I am worried about the amount of disruption the building will cause.”

Other neighbours expressed concerns that wildlife on the school playing fields would suffer if trees were felled.

In a report, Bury Council planning officer Jennie Townsend said no trees would be felled, so wildlife would be preserved.

She added that, under council policy, the school was required to have 45 parking spaces and it does.

“A hoarding will be placed along the route of the temporary access road to mitigate dust and noise to nearby occupiers.”