ANGRY residents have protested against plans for a giant multi-storey car park which would tower above a Southampton primary school.

The peaceful protest took place yesterday afternoon outside the Student Services Centre, University Road, to oppose the proposed four-deck car park for 714 vehicles close to Swaythling Primary School.

Protesters fear the car park will bring increased traffic pollution and congestion.

They protested from 3pm and marched from Swaythling Primary School to the university campus.

The demonstrators, of all ages, came armed with placards saying ‘Listen to your own research’, while wearing surgical masks.

They wore T-shirts bearing the message ‘We Object’ while projecting their views with a megaphone shouting “Think of the children” and “Don’t build a polluting car park in the 21st century”.

One student told protesters to be quiet as they could not concentrate in the library.

Critics of the controversial application, by the University of Southampton, to build on its existing Hampton Car Park, claim the scheme runs counter to the city’s Green Charter; which aims to reduce air pollution and deter car use.

Others believe it will attract more traffic to the area around the school, causing congestion.

As previously reported in the Echo, the application was criticised by an environmentalist as “old-fashioned” when most cities are trying to reduce their car emissions.

The university website states its plans for Hampton Car park would allow them to relocate existing parking to allow the north-east corner of Highfield Campus to be developed.

Tina Barnes, a 48-year-old Mayfield resident, said: “This is disgraceful and it is utterly unacceptable that they can even come up with ideas of putting a multi-storey car park next to a school.”

One protester had come from the New Forest. She said: “I have a granddaughter at Swaythling Primary School and we have come from Ringwood to protest against the car park in the middle of a residential area.

“These children who are going to be students at the university will probably suffer for the sake of lecturers having a shorter trip.”

Sher Chowdhury, a 39-year-old Swaythling resident, said: “I have got two children who go to the school. The car park will be right next to it and with all that pollution it is just going to be really bad for them. That is why I am here.”

Maurine Wren, 73, who lives on Mayfield Road, said: “I did not hear about the plans to build a car park. It looks quite ugly and is intrusive for residents’ houses.”

The public consultation on the scheme ends on April 12.