HOLY Cross College has pulled out of controversial plans to expand its campus.

The college had submitted plans to remodel a building opposite its current site in Manchester Road back in October.

The scheme, which would have been subject to the college buying the site, involved transforming two semi-detached properties to create eight teaching spaces, as well as building a two-storey glass-fronted building at the back to form a further eight.

After the plans came to light, angry residents accused the college of acting in an ‘underhand’ way over the scheme, which they said they had not been consulted on.

More than 80 objections were made, with many expressing concerns about the impact on parking and traffic in the area.

At the time, Holy Cross principal David Frost told the Bury Times that the college were ‘just exploring possibilities at this stage’, and they would consult widely if they decided to go ahead with the plans.

This week, the college announced that it had decided not to buy the site as it would not help to ‘strengthen and enhance the educational experience’ of its students.

They added that ‘anonymous pamphlets and internet posts’ had had no bearing on the decision.

In a statement, Mr Frost said: “As a highly successful Sixth Form College and University Centre, we naturally have to consider possible future options all the time.

“We have therefore been looking at 176-8 Manchester Road to see if these buildings could improve space and facilities for existing students. We have now made our decision, after careful planning, multiple surveys and professional investigation.

“That decision is not to buy the properties. It is important to stress that anonymous pamphlets and internet posts had no effect on our decision, which was based entirely – as is right and proper - on the facts about the properties and what is right for Bury, the college and its young people.

“We have simply concluded that buying these properties would not help us as a college to strengthen and enhance the educational experience of the young people of our borough, which is our single-minded focus.

“We will be getting on with what we do so well, providing a world-class education and life experience right on the doorstep of Bury people, and doing our best to help the borough in any way we can to improve the education and life chances of all our young people.”

The college’s announcement has been cautiously welcomed by residents. Kio Rostamian, who lives in a neighbouring property in Manchester Road, said: “I am glad they have pulled out, but it does not stop them putting it in again in future.

“We are going to form a residents committee as a result of this. We would encourage the college to engage in some dialogue in future.”