PLANS to transform the University of South Wales' Caerleon Campus site - dominated by 311 homes - could be rejected due to concerns over air pollution and traffic issues.

University of South Wales' (USW) plans for the redevelopment of the former college site in Caerleon, Newport, has been recommended for refusal when it comes before Newport City Council's planning committee to be decided next week.

Planning officers say the proposal represents an "unparalleled set of circumstances."

Under the plans, up to 263 new homes would be built at the site with former student halls and teaching buildings being demolished.

The application would see the main campus building, more than 100-years-old and awarded grade two-listed building, retained.

Plans would also see existing buildings - the Edwardian main building, Felthorpe House, TJ Webly and Ty Hwyel - converted into 47 homes.

A rugby pitch would be retained but the existing sports centre would be demolished.

Since the plans were revealed, hundreds of people have attended public meetings and 129 letters of objection have been lodged.

Concerns have been raised over the impact of the development on air pollution and traffic problems as well as the scale of the development.

The council's scientific officer says the restricted flow of traffic in Caerleon makes it "particularly sensitive to change in volumes of traffic."

"Given the pressing need to ensure an improvement of air quality in Caerleon - I cannot support this application," the officer writes.

The council's planning policy manager says the plans meet several regeneration objectives.

However, it is said the application cannot be supported until issues relating to the impact on the traffic and air quality are agreed.

Ward councillors Gail Giles, Jason Hughes and Joan Watkins also objected to the plans.

Caerleon Civic Society also objected, raising concerns about school capacity, GP services and traffic issues.

A report prepared ahead of next week's meeting says the scheme would bring both positive and negative impacts.

Benefits of the scheme include the retention of the main building which will remain a 'landmark' in the area.

USW plan to sell the site on the open market and use the money for a planned Knowledge Quarter initiative in Newport.

The council report concludes: "The proposal represents an unparalleled set of circumstances, which although resulting in development in a location which would normally be preferred, presents a unique range of impacts that on balance will adversely effect the wider community.

"Officers consider that the benefits arising from the proposal would not demonstrably outweigh the objections stated in relation to highway and air quality matters and their associated effects upon highway capacity, highway safety, residential amenity and human health, as these weigh very heavily against granting planning permission for this scheme."

A spokesman for USW said the university's intention has always been to get a "positive outcome" for the Caerleon community.

The spokesman said the application has sought to respect the heritage of the site and meet local issues.

"We believe that refusal would have significant ill effects for the community, denying residents the benefit of a major funding injection for local services from development of the disused site.

"The University's commitment to the future of the city and the region is unchanged. Refusal would be a decision with potentially significant implications to the funding of the Newport Knowledge Quarter, a key strategic aim we share with the Council.

"But there will be no kneejerk reaction: we will now review the detail of the recommendation and our options for next steps."