PLANS to turn a former youth centre into a school for kids with special educational needs has been backed by a local councillor.

An application was submitted earlier this week to change the use of the former Worsbrough Youth Centre, based on Ardsley Road, into a school which would cater for 24 key stage three children.

If approved the school, which will be known as West Riding School, will bring 12 new full-time members of staff to the area.

A planning report states: “The local authority and its statutory partners have an increasing demand for school places for children and young people with SEND.

“They have an obligation to ensure these children have access to the right type of school placement which best meets their needs, that is within their community and is closer to home.

“This includes those who have been categorised as having needs relating to social, emotional, and mental health; autism and/or speech, language, and communication needs.

“It is essential that children and young people with SEND do not have to travel out of the borough to have their educational needs met through early identification and support, in parallel with improvements to the quality and efficiency of education, health and care plan processes.

“Children and young people who require ongoing specialist support need to be placed in the best possible provision and have their needs met through a stable and enriching school life.

“This will promote independence, confidence and aspirations and enables children to make a successful transition to adulthood.”

The former youth centre is currently vacant and is not registered as an asset of community value.

Coun Jake Lodge, who represents the area, said the school would be a benefit to his ward.

He told the Chronicle: “As a parent, I know how important it is for parents to know that children are receiving the education that will help them to thrive.

“I hope, that if approved, this new school will be able to allay the fears of parents who have come to me in the past.

“Parents who are concerned about where their child will go to school and if a mainstream placement would be suitable.

“I hope they now have the reassurance that plans are being developed, to ensure that their children will have access to support and encouragement that they deserve and most importantly, that this will within the borough.

“If approval is agreed, it will also help bring back a site that has been focused on education for well over 60 years.

“A place of memories for people across Worsbrough.’’

The application was submitted just a month after plans to turn Athersley Youth Centre into another SEND school.

A total of 47 neighbours have been made aware of the Worsbrough Dale application with no appeals to date.

Public consultation ends on January 24.