A BUSINESSMAN leading a consortium bidding to buy defunct Malsis School, in Glusburn, has told how he wants to bring it back to its former glory - and more.

Adrian Lisle expects an answer to his several million pounds offer to the receivers, Ernst & Young, for the listed building and its 32 acre estate, within the next few days.

If it succeeds, it would be the start of a journey to open the building as a private mixed "prep" school, for both day and boarding students, by September 2016.

He told Glusburn and Cross Hills Parish Council that it was a challenging task but it would be the start of a new chapter in the life of the school, founded in 1920.

The aim was to develop two areas of the estate for housing - one a small site for five homes and a second site on which to build 41 homes.

Money raised would go into restoring the school building and opening up the facilities to the community, including the cricket and lawn tennis facilities, the indoor pool, the multi-purpose sports hall and the mountain bike trail.

The grounds would also be available for outdoor theatrical events, musical "prom" type events and summer garden parties.

Mr Lisle said: "When the school is up and running we will be employing 70 people. We want to get those jobs back. Our aim is to embed the school in the community - making it an asset."

A separate charity would be set up, independent of the school and funded by ex-pupils, offering bursaries to local youngsters.

Sitting among the general public was management consultant, Mike Cox, a pupil at the school between 1956 and 1961, who was attending after reading of the school's plight in the Craven Herald.

He praised the work of the consortium and said there were many ex-pupils who would be prepared to back the venture.

He said: "The years spent here were some of the best of my time at school. I find it hard to believe how it was possible nothing was done to save it. Action wasn't taken early enough.

"The place could once again be an excellent place to be educated and it is such a beautiful part of Yorkshire."

He said he was particularly sad that the building had been stripped of all its heritage, including the stuffed bear - touched by the boys for good luck - which was sold at auction for £10,000.

A spokesman for Craven District Council said there had been two approved applications for residential development which were subject to legal agreements relating to investing money into repair of the listed building to allow its use as a school and improving sporting facilities and opening them up to the community.

They had not been signed because the school had closed which meant planning permission had not been formally granted.