Artist's impression   ...   the business school design.

Artist's impression ... the business school design.

RESIDENTS of Darlington are feeling squeezed as the University of Sydney plans to build a massive school and student accommodation on Abercrombie Street.

According to plans before the Department of Planning, three blocks in the inner-west suburb could be transformed into the ''Abercrombie Street precinct'' - made up of student residences and a seven-storey new business school, which would accommodate up to 7500 students and staff.

It comes as the university continues its bid to buy land along the railway line in North Eveleigh for expansion and a redevelopment of the Darlington pool and gym.

The university said its latest venture would ''provide world-class educational facilities'' but residents are worried their suburb is being engulfed.

''In the last 40 years the university has swept across City Road like a tsunami,'' said a community activist, Tim Brunero. ''People are starting to feel nervous and wonder 'when is it going to stop?' ''

The site for development is a block bound by Codrington Street to the east and Darlington Public School to the west.

Under the plan, most of the existing buildings, including the Shepherd Centre and Boundary Lane Childcare Centre, would be replaced by the new school building and student accommodation with 100 beds. Planning and construction would take about five years and cost $267 million.

''The school is currently housed in six different locations across the Camperdown-Darlington campus, in buildings of varying standards,'' the director of Campus Infrastructure Services, Colin Rockliff, said. ''The aim is to provide better facilities for students, not increase [numbers].''

Residents' concerns include the height and bulk of buildings and traffic and parking problems.

The president of the school community committee at Darlington Public, Nick Vanos, said parents were worried about the plans and the effects of the long construction period.

In submissions to the department, parents said they feared the new buildings would overshadow the playground and that a car park entrance next to the school will put children at risk.

The small school has only unflued gas heaters, so must keep classroom windows open, sparking concerns about air pollution during construction.

''The proposal would compromise the classroom, and playground environment,'' he said.

The university also has a separate development application being considered by the City of Sydney for the redevelopment of its Darlington sporting complex. It is seeking to buy the Crown land along the rail line near Carriageworks, called North Eveleigh, for student accommodation, learning and research space.

Residents and representatives from the school met the university yesterday and said they felt encouraged by signs it was willing to compromise on some aspects.

''Rather than 'taking over' Darlington, the university wants to create buildings and grounds which encourage local residents to use and enjoy our campus and facilities,'' Mr Rockliff said.

Geoff Turnbull, from community group REDWatch (covering Redfern, Eveleigh, Darlington and Waterloo), said the university's ability to listen and compromise would determine how residents reacted.

''If you sit in the residential belt … the fear is the university is going to gobble you up … [it] needs to be careful about how it deals with the … development to put those fears to rest.''