PLANS for a controversial new arts complex at a Winchester sixth-form college are being revived.

Peter Symonds College are revisiting plans to build a new arts block after school governors decided that the college should apply for planning permission.

The complex, originally placed alongside Hatherley Road, was not well received by neighbours, sparking widespread protest earlier this year.

As previously reported by the Chronicle, more than 150 residents had supported a letter asking for the college to rethink the proposal.

The choice of this site also prompted a demonstration attended by more than 100 people.

One issue was the new entrance on Cranworth Road, Fulflood. Residents were worried the number of students funnelled down the street would prove a danger.

Another issue was the loss of trees and the overbearing nature of the proposed buildings.

Campaigners said they wanted to see the college redevelop the arts block within the existing cluster of buildings rather than expand across the playing fields.

In response to the original proposal, Peter Symonds College set up a neighbourhood liaison group, with the aim of fostering better relations between the college and its neighbours.

The college had said they were looking at two alternative options; next to Falkland Lodge or in front of the Mercers’ Sports Hall.

At a second liaison meeting however, Peter Symonds vice-principal Dave Cartwright said the college should apply for planning permission on the originally proposed site, according to local residents.

Mr Cartwright said: “We met with representatives from the Planning Department some time ago to discuss the possibility of building a new arts facility at the college.

“The Board of Governors has recently decided to proceed and seek planning permission to build the new arts facility.

“We provided members of the Neighbours Liaison Group which met on November 29, a list of changes made to the original plans in response to comments from local residents and we will be arranging a presentation for local residents in the New Year to provide information.”

Adam Clarke-Williams, of Cranworth Road, said: “Those of us in Cranworth Road are, of course, horrified.

“Despite all the reassuring noises we were treated to last time. So far as I’m concerned it remains the wrong building, in the wrong place, and we’re not having it.”

Gunilla Jones, resident of Cranworth Road for more than 40 years, said: “We are horrified. There’s 170 signatures from all of the roads saying we were all against it. We are hopeful that it could be stopped, as the college said itself that they don’t want that site.

“We are all worried – we just don’t understand it. We want some action.”

Speaking about the proposed site, she added: “It’s the only green space we have in this area.”

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

Staff at the sixth form college says it needs to expand to cope with the rising number of students attending from across the region.