Plans have been unveiled to repurpose a small rural school which closed amid dismay and claims it had been caught in “a vortex of ineffective council support and national regulations” from which it proved impossible to escape.

The Diocese of York has announced it plans to sell the site of the former Weaverthorpe Primary School, which has traditionally served as a key hub for the rural community, following its closure last year.

Some of the village’s 350 residents voiced dismay at North Yorkshire Council’s decision to sanction the closure, saying while the authority had increased staff support for the school, the quality of the support had been “variable”, rather than the “experienced, capable and effective” staff needed.

Parents appealed to politicians to make a last-ditch intervention after an inadequate rating triggered the closure process, claiming “every child at Weaverthorpe School, and every future pupil, has been failed”.

Church officials have lodged a planning application to redevelop the site of the school, on Back Lane, which is in open countryside and outside of the village’s defined development limits as well as being in the Yorkshire Wolds Area of High Landscape Value.

The documents state the site could feature two three-bedroom homes with gardens for local people or holiday cottages.

The papers add: “The proposals will bring about positive enhancement of the immediate setting of the school building through the reduction of large areas of tarmac which currently surround the school.

“A substantial proportion of this grey hardstanding will be removed and replaced with green lawns and landscape planting which will create a much greener and softer environment.”

The Diocese of York has stated it wants to get planning consent for the land before selling it on to a developer.

Councillor Femi Shellard, chair of Weaverthorpe Parish Council, said the authority had not objected to the plans as there was a recently revamped village hall, Weaverthorpe would not be able to support or afford adopting the school building for community use.

He said the while parish council had agreed building two medium sized homes for families with local occupancy clauses attached was a good option for the site, the Diocese of York has stated it wants to get planning consent for the land before selling it on to a developer.

Coun Shellard said: “A developer could take it away from low cost housing, but the Local Plan still has a local occupancy clause.

“Something needs to happen with the building and the land. It’s unlikely that it can be used for education again so therefore it being developed for homes for families to live in the community is probably the best we can hope for now.

“As a parish council we have seen the plans put forward by the diocese may not be what we end up with. It is rural North Yorkshire. We don’t need multi-million pound houses. We need people coming into the village, hopefully young families, to help the village stay young and vibrant. We would like it to be as affordable and low cost as possible, satisfying the local community.

“Both pubs in the village have got B&Bs with them so tourism is not something alien to us and not something we are opposed to, but it would be better if it was somebody’s permanent residence.”