WIDNES Sixth Form College has defended plans to sell a strip of land to developers to raise funds for improvements to college facilities.
The campus on Cronton Lane is planning to sell land to developer Wilson Connolly so that proceeds from can go towards a range of new buildings.
Principal Paul Grainger said the new buildings will be in keeping with surrounding properties at two storeys high. His vision for the new look campus is to be a major landmark at the entrance to Halton from Merseyside.
The plan supports Halton Borough Council's Gateway Project which aims to develop all the major entrances into the borough.
The proposed facilities would be designed for better disabled access while giving the site a security boost.
Mr Grainger said that many of the buildings are in desperate need of modernisation.
He said: 'The campus developments are part of wider plans to improve the security and safety of the entire area.
'The college concurs with its Stratton Park neighbours that traffic flow on Cronton Lane is a nuisance, and student and pedestrian security is obviously a priority.
'Research was undertaken this summer and consequent to the findings, the college paid for a set of traffic lights outside the entrance to reduce speed.
'The impact on traffic of an extra 60 or so cars for each new apartment resident will be negligible. The new apartments will also be provided with a residents' car park, as is often the case with modern apartment developments.
'In addition, the college is striving to get planning permission for further traffic calming measures and hopes to enjoy a new campus by 2005.'
Meanwhile, Halton council has assured residents that their concerns have been taken into account by planning officers considering the application for the proposed apartment development.
A council spokeswoman said: 'All planning applications have to be determined in accordance with the local development plan and other relevant material considerations.
'When people make objections that is one material consideration we have to balance against the others.
'We have to weigh up everything.' A planning application detailing the proposed apartments was considered at yesterday's development control and licensing committee.