A SPECIAL school in Horwich is set to expand and take on 16 more pupils, after plans were given the go-ahead by Bolton councillors.

The planning committee approved the scheme put forward by Lever Park School in Stocks Park Drive to extend its main building at the front and rear, and build a new teaching building and a 21-space car park.

It means the secondary school will be able to have two new classrooms, more office space for staff and extend its school hall.

Head teacher Colin Roscoe said he was delighted the plans had been approved.

Lever Park is the only special school in Bolton that accepts pupils with educational needs relating to social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Mr Roscoe said: “It means that we can meet the needs of our growing clients and children who would benefit from coming here. There’s a growing demand for places, which the council recognises.”

The application was opposed by local residents, who organised a petition arguing that the new single-storey building would be too close to their homes and an increase in pupils would mean more cars parking outside their homes.

At the planning meeting, Cllr Andy Morgan said he did not think the application was controversial, and that the new building would be some distance from nearby houses.

He added: “We had some objections from residents but, looking at the site and the way it falls, it will protect residents. We should get behind the school and support its aspiration to provide excellent education for those with special needs. It is a commendable application.”

Work is expected to start in March, with the new pupils starting in September.