A VILLAGE primary school and the pre-school it shares a site with have gone head to head in a battle over the quality of facilities they can offer their children.

North Yorkshire County Council’s planning and regulatory functions committee were told their decision over a plan to plan to build classrooms would mean provision for youngsters would either suffer at Kirby Malzeard Church of England Primary School or at the neighbouring pre-school in the village near Ripon.

Members heard the primary school was seeking permission to demolish two temporary classrooms and replace them with a double permanent prefabricated 178sq m classroom.

The primary school said it needed to improve disabled access at the school and the new classroom would be “used by all students to create an inclusive environment”.

The proposal received 47 letters of support, many of which refer to the need for improved facilities at the school.

However, Sarah Haslam, of Kirby Malzeard pre-school told the committee the proposed classroom would blight provision at the pre-school for children aged two-and-a-half to five and create danger for youngsters.

She said as the classroom would be just 1.8m from the pre-school boundary and sited on higher ground than the pre-school, it would cast a shadow across the pre-school building, leading to higher heating and lighting costs.

Mrs Haslam added the loss of light would lead to the pre-school’s play area, which was required by Ofsted, becoming damp and slippery, and potentially create a wind tunnel through the narrow gap between the buildings.

She added “22, three and four-year-old children playing outside do make a lot of noise”, which due to the proximity of the proposed classroom would significantly impact on the primary school pupils.

She said: “At the moment the children have the most fabulous environment where they can watch nature through the windows to see the swallows swooping over the field, see the squirrels, pheasants and oystercatchers. A lot of that would be lost.”

Councillors were told the effect of the proposal on light in the pre-school had been tested, and had found to be within acceptable limits.

Ahead of the members granting the proposal, Councillor David Blades said he felt the benefits of the scheme outweighed the concerns of the pre-school. He added: “It is quite unusual that we get an objector from the same environment. I am really struggling with an objector to something that to me is of benefit to the area.”