A PROPOSAL to welcome children with complex mental health needs instead of those with learning and physical disabilities at a new school and care facility has drawn objections from local residents.

The Noble Charitable Trust's application to Hambleton District Council comes almost eight years after it was granted consent to develop the former Noble Fuels Depot, at Skutterskelfe, near Great Ayton, as a day and respite care centre for the Yatton House Society.

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The society, which offers day placements for disabled people from North Yorkshire and the Tees Valley, had hoped to move into a new, two-storey building at Skutterskelfe by 2016.

But it has dropped that ambition and is now instead raising funds to help refurbish its Great Ayton base, including improvements to accessibility.

Papers lodged with the planning authority state as "a material start" was made on preparing foundations on the site, the 2014 planning permission remains valid.

The documents state Breckenbrough School, which offers day and residential placement for children with complex needs, including Pathological Demand Avoidance and Tourette’s Syndrome, had expressed a wish to open an outreach facility at Skutterskelfe to complement its base, more than 20 miles away near Thirsk.

The application to make changes to the original planning consent states the permission already granted is close to what Breckenbrough School would need to establish the satellite base.

It states: "The school’s main base is in the district at Sandhutton and provides a specialist nurturing, low stress environment to help their students learn to manage their behaviours."

However, some residents living near the site have questioned whether the original planning approval should remain valid, particularly due to the change of age range and type of attendee.

In a letter of objection, one resident has questioned how much additional noise would be produced by Breckenbrough School, what activities are going to be carried out in the grounds and "how secure is the establishment given the type of people who are going to be visiting there?".

In another objection letter, a couple living nearby stated: "The original plan had an objective to provide replacement amenities for the very local Yatton House with its deep connection to local people and supporters.

"This seems a significant change that should be considered in more detail as to the impact on local amenity and residents.

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"Breckenbrough School has far less local connection.

"The fundamental question is why develop in Skutterskelfe when Breckenbrough School has extensive land at its main site in Sandhutton 20-plus miles away from here - with the environmental impact of numerous car or van journeys etc. and the change to the Skutterskelfe rural environment?"

It remains unclear if the application will be considered in public by the council's planning committee or if the changes to the original plan are limited enough to enable the decision to be made by planning officers.