Almost 2,500 people have now backed a campaign to stop council funding being stripped from a Northwich special school.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is mulling over proposals to withdraw funding for residential services at Greenbank School in Hartford, along with neighbouring Cloughwood Academy, Hebden Green in Winsford, and Archers Brook in Ellesmere Port.

The residential service is for autistic teenagers in years nine to 11. They can stay once a week or fortnightly to learn independent skills in a real life environment with specialist staff.

But some parents fear the impact of cuts and earlier this year launched a campaign calling for a rethink.

An online petition now has 1,822 signatures, with a paper petition having received 662 signatures, a combined total of 2,484 names.

The petitions were started by Jennifer Emerson, whose 15-year-old son George uses the residential provision at Greenbank.

Writing online, she said: "The closure of the residential provision at Greenbank school will adversely affect local SEN children's future development, their mental health and those who care for them. Ultimately, the burden it will place on social care, the NHS (mental health support) and social security benefits for families will annul any cost savings of a closure."

Council chiefs have previously said the residential service was used in some schools 'more than others', and that the ongoing squeeze on local authority spending meant Cheshire West had to make its funding go 'further than ever'.

A decision by the council's ruling cabinet is expected this summer.

A council spokesman, said: "We are currently reviewing the grant given to the school to support the residential offer and will share the outcomes of the review at the earliest opportunity.

"School staff, parents and carers, and young people have participated in engagement meetings and activities as part of the review."