NEW homes could be built on the site of a doomed Ryedale satellite college, but the proposed development is already facing opposition.

An application to build 13 houses on land where Askham Bryan College’s now-defunct Pickering centre currently stands has been lodged with Ryedale District Council, with a consultation period on the scheme set to run until the end of the month.

The educational and training base in Swainsea Lane closed last year despite protests from town councillors and students, with the York-based college bosses saying their hand was forced by cuts in Government funding for adult education.

They claimed the site was costing £144,000 a year to run, and plan to use the proceeds from its sale to develop the college’s equine centre in York. About 100 students from across Ryedale learned construction and motor skills at the facility, which was also used by local schoolchildren.

Now the college has drawn up proposals to bulldoze the existing buildings and turn the 0.4-hectare site into a housing development on the edge of open countryside on the outskirts of Pickering.

In documents submitted to the district council, York-based chartered surveyors Smiths Gore – who are acting as the college’s agents – said there was “no future for the centre in the light of economic conditions”.

“It is proposed to develop the site into a high-quality housing development, given its attractive setting on the edge of Pickering,” said the firm.

“The site currently lies within the development limits of Pickering and represents an ideal brownfield site for the location of a new housing development.

“The site is well-related to the form and character of the town and is easily accessed.”

The company added that the development would include two, three and four-bedroom bungalows and two-storey semi-detached homes and, as less than 15 would be built, there would be no need to provide affordable housing. Landscaping work would also be carried out and a new access road built.

However, Pickering residents living near the college site have already begun submitting objections to the application, saying the new homes would overlook their properties and lead to concerns about privacy, security and noise.

One of the scheme’s opponents wrote: “This housing development would be devastating to us and others who enjoy and have enjoyed for many years living on the edge of the countryside.”

A date for it to come before the council’s planning committee has yet to be set.