A £3.5 MILLION school in Nelson has been given the green light after a three-year planning battle.

County councillors approved the plans for the new Whitefield Primary School at a meeting yesterday.

Heritage groups including English Heritage and North West Heritage had previously raised objections to the demolition of houses, which would be required to make way for the school.

They had been resolved but last year London-based conservationist group SAVE Britain’s Heritage lodged a protest about the demolition of boarded-up terrace houses in Macleod Street, Appleby Street and Portland Street.

That hurdle was finally overcome in March when the SAVE group’s application for a judicial review was withdrawn.

Last month parents submitted a 250-strong signature urging councillors to make a quick decision on the plans.

County Coun Mohammed Iqbal, who represents the area, said: “I am delighted that this has finally been resolved and that the new Whitefield school will be going ahead. There is a shortage of school places in Nelson and this will be a big help to solve that problem.

"This school will be a big boost to the regeneration of the Whitefield area.”

County Coun George Adam, who sits on the council’s development control committee, said: “I was more than happy to support this and I am pleased it is now going ahead.

“It should have been half built by now but there have been a lot of delays, heritage groups have complained who don’t know the area. They wanted us to save the houses but they wouldn’t live there themselves.”

It is now hoped the new school could be open by October 2013.