PLANS to build a children’s role play and gymnastics centre on a farm in Cross Hills have been given the go-ahead by councillors.

The role play centre will be run by the company My Mini Highstreet and will recreate Cross Hills’ high street in smaller form so children can act out jobs in restaurants, hairdressers, vets, travel agents and other businesses, heard a meeting yesterday (Tuesday)  of North Yorkshire Council's area planning committee.

The gymnastics centre will be a separate business run by Ambition Gymnastics, which offers popular gymnastics programmes in Barnoldswick to children and adults.

All activities at the Station Road site will be linked to the early years and key stage one curriculums and there will also be baby and toddler groups offered as well as a cafe.

Six jobs would be created and it proposes to open from 9.15am until 3pm, seven-days-a-week.

North Yorkshire Council’s Skipton and Ripon planning committee met  in Ripon to consider the application.

Georgina Mitchell, owner of Ambition Gymnastics, said the facility would offer “endless opportunities for children” whilst helping to inspire them. She said: “My love of gymnastics started when I was seven and the experiences I had as a child have helped shape the person I am today.”

A report prepared by officers ahead of the meeting recommended councillors approve the plans and said the facility would be widely used by locals as well as those visiting from outside of Craven.

The plans received 32 comments of support and 18 objections.

Glusburn and Cross Hills Parish Council said the facility “could be of value” to the local area but that the building should not be allowed due to concerns over traffic and the land being further developed in the future.

Green Party councillor Andy Brown also raised concerns about the impact of traffic on a nearby roundabout. He said: “Almost all the locals are flabbergasted that the council said it’s fine to put extra traffic on the road. It’s gridlocked for hours a day. I think it will disrupt through traffic in a very disturbing way.”

Andrew Williams, Ripon Moorside and Minster councillor for the Conservative and Independents Group, said he would be happy to support the plans as long as any future change-of-use application related to the building comes back to the planning committee.

He said: “There’s a benefit to the wider community in terms of a facility for children and young people which is clearly lacking in that part of North Yorkshire. I speak as a parent where these activities are greatly needed across North Yorkshire.”