A SECONDARY school has been given the go-ahead for a major extension which will allow it to increase the number of pupils on its roll.

Ribblesdale High School, Clitheroe, intends to admit 30 extra pupils each year, taking the total number of new starters coming through the gates to 285 each September.

The change will see the Queens Road school’s overall register increase from 1,305 to 1,425 pupils over a four year period.

Lancashire County Council’s development control committee approved a series of plans designed to accommodate the growing numbers, after hearing there is a shortage of secondary school places in the area.

“A sustained increase in the number of births together with the development of new housing…has resulted in an increase in demand which the current high schools in the area cannot accommodate,” a report to members noted. However, the proposals might yet have to go to the government for final approval.

The main teaching area – known as “G Block” – will have a 10 classrooms added to it as part of a two-storey extension.

The current two-storey “D Block” will be demolished and replaced with a modern, single-level “multi-functional activity area”.

The school caretaker’s house will also be levelled to make way for eight new staff parking spaces and a new 2.4m high security fence will be installed at various points.

Meanwhile, two of the school’s six outdoor sports courts will be lost as part of the G Block extension – with the remaining four being replaced by better quality, multi-use games areas which can be used for five-a-side football, netball, basketball and tennis.

Sport promotion body Sport England requested that County Hall impose conditions guaranteeing both the suitability of the new courts for the sporting activities proposed and their availability to the local community.

But planning officer, Jonathan Haine, told the committee that the latter issue did not meet “the test” for the planning conditions which the council could set – and the matter would have to be referred to the Secretary of State.