MAJOR plans for a new building on the site of Winchester’s sixth-form college have been approved, but it has come under criticism for not publishing its masterplan.

Peter Symonds College has been given permission to construct a new-storey classroom block, despite concerns from residents about its size, scale and location.

The proposal sits on the site of a disused changing facility, which was previously associated with a swimming pool that was filled-in in the 1970s. It is in the same location as the college planned to build an art complex back in 2016.

The application went before Winchester City Council’s planning committee on Tuesday and was unanimously approved.

However, the college was criticised over a promised masterplan, which despite being given to authority officers has not been put out to public consultation.

Cranworth Road resident Martyn Ryland, speaking on behalf of his neighbours, said: “This site sits within the protective green lung to the south of the main buildings, we believe a sustainable solution would be to reuse, refurbish and extend those buildings which have already been identified as unfit for purpose this requires a masterplan for the college site which addresses the bigger issues of land uses and traffic flow.”

Mr Ryland said that when the committee approved the arts facility in 2017 it asked for a masterplan prior to any further application. He also highlighted that in a report to Tuesday's committee it said a new masterplan is “being considered separately”.

He added: “This cannot be right the new draft emerging masterplan is not a public document, it is not available, let alone discussed with those that it will affect.”

Committee member Cllr Chris Westwood said: “I have sympathy with the residents in terms of the masterplan.

"When you look at the diagram of the area and the current buildings on the site they are all to the other side away from the houses and this is the first major development on that side of the campus and for it not to be in the masterplan and that masterplan being signed off and agreed and consulted with by the residents and well as the officers in the council is a mistake, that masterplan should have been agreed prior to this planning application being put forward.

The councillor added that he feels that the building would “possibly fit” but it “has been done in the wrong order”.

He continued: “Symonds needs to understand that they need to work in conjunction with the local area, have that masterplan in place and agreed with the local people and then things may move forward a bit smoother in the future.”

Speaking at the meeting, vice principal David Cartwright said: “Some of our current accommodation is not well suited to flexible use and risks limiting classroom activities. The key aim of the proposed building is to improve the quality of our classroom stock. We have carefully considered the need for a new building and have in the last few years refurbished and converted a number of spaces in existing buildings, but we do now feel we have exhausted these options.”