PLANS to provide a Southampton sixth-form college with an extra five classrooms are likely to be given the go-ahead next week.

Members of the city council are being urged to approve an application to build a two-storey extension to Itchen College, enabling the campus in Middle Road, Bitterne, to teach more students.

Council officers have received 18 letters of objection from residents who fear the scheme will create extra traffic problems in the area.

But the application says the number of city teenagers being forced to study outside Southampton will rise unless more places are provided.

Referring to the outcome of a review it claims the impact of the proposed extension on traffic and parking in roads surrounding the college would be "minimal".

Members of the council's planning and rights of way panel are being recommended to support the proposal subject to conditions - including a cap on the number of students.

The college currently has 1,350 learners and the officers feel the number should not exceed 1,585.

A report to councillors says: "The proposal seeks to modernise and improve teaching facilities within the city for the benefit of students and teaching staff.

"It is clear from the information received that there is a need for further spaces to meet the demand for further education within the city and wider area.

"The proposal, due to its location within an internal courtyard, would not be seen from the wider street scene."

But the report adds: "The application will result in an increase in trips, due to the proposed increase in students. This increase will have an impact on the residential amenity of the area as well as an impact on highway safety if not carefully considered and managed.

"Officers recognise the concerns raised by neighbours and accept that the proposed expansion will result in additional demand for on-street parking.

"The applicant’s parking survey indicates there will not be a detrimental overspill in parking.

"However, mitigation measures to provide improvements to the pedestrian and cycle environment will be required to improve highway safety and make the development acceptable in terms of highway safety."

The report says the scheme aims to meet an identified need in the city as well as respecting the character of existing buildings and minimising its impact on residents.