MORE than 150 residents have backed a campaign to halt plans for a new art complex at a Winchester college.

Fears are mounting as Peter Symonds College looks to replace its current facility with one adjacent to Hatherley Road.

Now neighbours have expressed their concerns in a letter to the college's governors.

"We write as neighbours of Peter Symonds to let you (the college) know of our strong opposition to your plans for a new arts building," the letter says.

"Your scheme has caused a great deal of concern among local residents. We would ask you to do what you can to halt the project now."

The expansion of the college, leading to more students and increased use of the area, was another issued raised.

Principal Stephen Carville said: "We are currently in the process of reviewing all of the comments received with the project team in order to see how we can address the principle issues raised and hopefully will shortly be in a position to publish information on the proposed scheme to all parties concerned.

"However, we are still at the early stages of design for the proposed building."

As previously reported by the Chronicle, the complex will be open to the public and funnel students along Cranworth Road, creating a potential safety problem. A new entrance at the top of the road will also be opened on a blind corner.

"My major concern is, as a young mum, the safety of the road for my children and the people that use it," said Laura Broadhurst, of Cranworth Road.

"When the students finish, it's like a stampede of football followers coming out of a stadium.

"I backed the letter because we have tried to get in contact with the principle and vice principle but just keep getting passed on.

"Nobody wants to stop the college growing as education is very important and many people who live nearby have benefitted from Peter Symonds."

The college has grown rapidly in recent years to have around 4,000 students who travel from as far as the Isle of Wight.

Adam Clarke-Williams, of Cranworth Road, said the names had been gathered from residents in Hatherley Road, Cranworth Road, Fairfield Road, Owens Road, Brassey Road and Boscobel Road.

“The names represent a significant section of residents living near the college," he said. "There is a groundswell of feeling.

“Our fundamental objection is to the siting of the building on what has been open space for decades. They have always concentrated their activity on the far side of the site. We don't think this is the right place.

“The residents are very concerned that this represents a first move across the campus, the first stage of a major expansion of their footprint.”

Mr Clarke-Williams said the current art buildings are fairly rundown and added the college should look at redeveloping them instead.

Gunilla Jones, a resident of Cranworth road for more than 40 years, says she is "horrified" that the college will be placing the building opposite her home.

Mrs Jones added: "I cannot understand how the college can allow this. It is just ridiculous.

"The main issue I have is that this will set a precedent for other buildings to be built in the same area."