A new £200,000 children’s nursery could be up and running early next year, after receiving council backing.

And senior figures at Ghyll Royd School, in Burley-in-Wharfedale, who are behind the Babes in the Wood nursery and outdoor learning area project, will plant a total of 300 new trees as part of the scheme, which is in Green Belt area.

Bradford Council, which has backed the plan, says there are “special circumstances” to the scheme to outweigh the “limited harm to the Green Belt that would be caused by the development”.

Work is expected to begin imminently on the project, once council officers confirm plans to protect current trees on the site, just off the A65 Ilkley Road, are in place, mainly in the shape of protective fencing.

A spokesman for the school said the new building has the backing of Burley Parish Council and is needed to keep up with the demand for nursery places at the independent school for children under two and a half years old.

“They (the parish council) and Bradford Council not only appreciated the need for this development, but also appreciated that, while it will technically be built in the green belt area, it is being positioned in an unobtrusive and well-screened location in the landscape,” the spokesman said.

“It will be screened by well-maintained mixed woodland in fact, to which Ghyll Royd has already added 200 new trees, and will be planting a further 100 once the building work is completed.

“If all goes to plan, Burley-in-Wharfedale’s new Babes in the Wood Nursery should be up and running early in the new year, an event eagerly anticipated by the many young parents in the area who are on the waiting list for places at the nursery.”

In a letter to Ghyll Royd headteacher Jo Jenkinson, confirming planning permission, Bradford Council said the new development is “appropriately sited in relation to the existing group of buildings and will be positioned in an unobtrusive and well-screened location in the landscape”.