ACCRINGTON is to have a second sixth form college after a plan to build another base for students studying their A-Levels was given the go-ahead.
Councillors gave the multi-million pound scheme at St Christopher’s School the green light at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday.
It will make it the second school in Hyndburn to offer A-Level education after work started on building a £17M facility at Accrington Academy earlier this year.
But there was a lot of opposition from residents who believe the northern side of Queens Road West is the wrong site to build the complex.
Sally Sutton, who lives on the road, would like to see the college built on the other side of the school.
She said: "I, like most of the other residents, do not object to St Christopher’s School having a sixth form centre.
"At the very first consultation meeting we made it clear that in order to cause the least inconvenience to residents, this building should go at the back of the site."
Ms Sutton added: "We know that this won’t solve the traffic problem but it will go a long way towards solving the problems of noise, light pollution, overbearing aspect and having our privacy invaded."
Another resident was furious that adverts had already appeared stating that the sixth form centre was accepting students for next September – before planning permission had been granted.
Once built, the designers hope the centre will be one of the most environmentally advanced colleges in the country.
Speaking in favour of the application, architect Chris Wright, said: "St Christopher’s is a high performing GCSE school with a very good record and is a credit to the area. If we build around the back of the school we would encroach on green belt land."
But council officers refuted this point and said the area is designated open space not green belt.
Councillor Marlene Howarth said: "The needs of the many should outweigh the needs of the few. I know that might sound very mercenary to some residents up there. But as a committee we have to look to the future."
Councillor Miles Parkinson agreed and added: "I’m of the belief that we are very lucky to have St Christopher’s in Hyndburn. All schools have traffic issues sometime during the day.
"But I would rather have a fantastic high performing school with traffic issues than a failing school and that would be more detrimental to the borough."