CONTROVERSIAL plans by Eastleigh's Barton Peveril College for a £3.5 million scheme to extend and upgrade the sixth form campus are likely to go before borough planners in March.

The college has applied for outline approval to build new teaching facilities, an admin building plus a reception and refectory extension. The scheme also envisages provision of a 100-place car park with a new vehicular and pedestrian access from Chestnut Avenue as well as selling land on the west of the college site for housing with access from Cedar Road.

The college says that key features of the project include a new 23 classroom block with the subsequent removal of temporary huts, provision of wheelchair access throughout the buildings, additional student space, a new reception area and relocation of the entrance.

The project would change the use of an existing car park to residential development.

But the move to sell off land for homes has already sparked a protest petition from residents of Cedar Road and Maple Square, over traffic and highway safety fears.

An Eastleigh council spokesman confirmed that the authority had already received a letter accompanied by 56 signatures objecting to the proposed development.

Meanwhile, a Barton Peveril spokesperson said the plans would provide a new image and approach to the college from its most visible side and allow the college to "raise its presence further in the community".

Last year, Barton Peveril achieved an A-level pass rate of 94 per cent. College principal Godfrey Glyn said: "In order to maintain and build upon these standards, the college needs to provide state-of-the-art facilities and resources to meet the expectations and needs of its students. We have drawn up plans for an ambitious project which will help to ensure that we can continue to provide the highest quality of education to the people of Eastleigh and the surrounding areas."

A borough council spokesman said: "The application will be reported, along with the residents' objections, to the next meeting of the Eastleigh local area committee on March 20."