Garden centre hits back over ‘light pollution’

The old radar station at Fraser Range, Eastney Picture: Shaun Roster

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THE man behind plans to build a huge garden centre on the outskirts of a village

has hit back at criticism which includes claims a greenhouse would cause light pollution.

John Strange, the owner of Keydell Nurseries, based in Horndean, is having a second attempt at convincing councillors on East Hampshire District Council’s planning committee that Mays Coppice Farm, off Whichers Gate Lane in Rowlands Castle, is an appropriate site for a new nursery.

Proposals were turned down in a knife-edge vote last year despite the planning officer’s recommendation to grant permission.

He has dismissed light pollution claims by Councillor Marge Harvey, who represents the village on the district council.

Mr Strange, whose family has owned the garden centre firm for more than 100 years, said: ‘This is misguided and inaccurate.

‘The lights will be turned off when the premises are closed. Lighting that is used during opening hours is for the safety of customers and employees and will be antipollution lighting.

‘The only lighting that will be required out of hours is security lighting and this will be motion controlled and downlit.’

There will also be a 65ft deep belt of trees added to the screening already surrounding the site, he said.

An agreement has been reached with Hampshire County Council for Keydell to provide £160,000 towards highway works in Whichers Gate Lane and the authority has agreed the road is safe to turn off into the proposed nursery site despite claims it is dangerous.

Mr Strange said: ‘In this instance the contribution would be spent on measures which would assist in slowing traffic.

‘The precise arrangements are for the county council to determine but are likely to involve the extension of the 30mph zone, a crossing point for pedestrians and traffic calming measures.’

Mr Strange said the plans were available to check on the council’s website and office and added: ‘It is preferable for the public to learn for themselves the facts of the case than to rely on hearsay.’

Concern was also raised over proposals for 400 car parking spaces but only 250 will be in daily use. Mr Strange said an overflow car park for 150 extra cars will only be used during exceptionally busy periods.

Three ponds will be created to manage drainage and new trees will be planted incorporating a bat corridor – space for bats to forage.

A date for the planning meeting has not been set.