Access through Huntingdonshire Regional College’s site in Huntingdon is to be closed off to the public as part of a raft of security upgrades.

But the move has prompted complaints from some who live near the campus, with claims that closing off the site will result in neighbours having to walk “hundreds of yards” out of their way.

The gates and pedestrian access to the college's Coxons Close entrance are set to close on November 20, with a sign erected on the gates informing pedestrians of the news.

A spokesman for the college said the decision had been made to close the gates to the public to “promote a safe and secure learning environment” for students and formed part of a package of new security measures being introduced.

But some fear that people who currently walk through the campus to access bus stops or to get to nearby shops will be severely hampered.

Ste Greenall, of Snowy Way, in Hartford, said: “It seems a disgrace that people will now have to walk down to Park Lane, Horseshoes Common and then back up Ambury Road to get to their bus stop, to go about their normal business, or - as will be the case in a few weeks at the by-election - to vote.

“It is monstrous that elderly people, laden with shopping, or those for whom walking any distance is a trial, will now have to walk several hundred yards further.

“All students from that side of Huntingdon are now more likely to drive rather than cycle or walk because it is so much further. More grist to the mill.”

Mr Greenall is calling for a rethink.

Vice chairman of the Huntingdon and Godmanchester Civic Society Richard Meredith added: “This footpath has been in continued use for over 40 years - it will mean a diversion for a lot of people, it will certainly triple or quadruple some peoples routes from one part of Huntingdon to another.”

A spokesman for the college said: “Huntingdonshire Regional College has upgraded perimeter fences and gates to further ensure the safeguarding and safety of learners, staff and visitors.

“Measures taken include the closure of pedestrian access onto the campus from Coxons Close and the gate to be used as an emergency exit only from Friday, November 20.

“All public access to the site will now be limited to the California Road entrance and rising bollards will be introduced.

“The college has also invested in new CCTV and access control to promote a safe and secure learning environment across the campus.”