Keydell Nurseries want to relocate their Garden Centre business from their present site at Horndean to a new site in Rowlands Castle.
The Strange family, who have bought the site and are now owners, have submitted plans but they got rejected by East Hampshire District Council’s planning committee in a knife-edge vote – despite being recommended for approval by the planning department.
So, they considerably altered the plans, taking in the reasons of the objections and submitted them at the beginning of June. Nothing more has been heard as yet.
The latest plans are on display in the Keydell’s Nurseries for all to see and the staff will even take the time to explain to customers the details of the plans.
The new scheme has in place an agreement by Hampshire County Council to give £160,000 for traffic-calming measures including creating a pavement on the narrow country lane.
Marge Harvey, councillor for Rowlands Castle, said she was concerned about extra traffic being generated as there are plans to build a 400-space car park right at the rear of the site.
Cllr Harvey said: ‘I don’t think its right that they can offer £160,000 to change a rural road into an urban road.
As it stands at present the road is very dark with no street lighting and is a rather dangerous stretch of road, running from the railway bridge, passed Prospect Lane junction and Whichers Gate houses on the left and on to the ‘Staunton Arms’ crossroads. This stretch can often have fast moving traffic on it.
A few years ago a survey was conducted asking local people if they wanted more street lighting but the majority said liked being in a dark area.
The issue has also been raised of light pollution being generated by the garden centre at night. This has been rigorously tackled in the new plans that are now under consideration.
My personal view is that now the Strange family are owners of the land they are not going to tie up their money in a piece of land they can’t use for the purpose they bought it for.
Eventually any more knock-backs from failed planning permission will exhaust the Strange family’s patience and they will then sell the land on to someone else.
In turn, the new owners will then submit their plans for what they want to build on this land and that might cause an even bigger objection, like an estate of box dwellings for instance.
The biggest outcome is the guarantee that this piece of land will not stay as it is for much longer, now that it has come onto the market and will be built on by someone, if not for Keydell’s then for something else.
Having seen the plans and been explained to my wife and I, we think that Keydell’s have done everything they can to tackle all the issues that have been raised through the project.
When it comes to traffic increasing you only have to look at Keydell’s existing site entrance to gauge what the increase will be like. Both roads are very similar. When you analyse it both sites are similar in lots of ways. The existing site does not have any issues with light pollution.
I would be very keen to hear the views of all concerned as it will shape the local community in the future!