Inquiry to decide fate of Rowlands Castle garden centre plan

PLANNED LOCATION Whichers Gate Road in Rowlands Castle
PLANNED LOCATION Whichers Gate Road in Rowlands Castle

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CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a large garden centre on fields near a village will be decided at a public inquiry.

Agents for Keydell Nurseries have appealed to the government planning inspector after East Hampshire District Council turned down plans for a garden centre at Rowlands Castle.

The decision last September was the second time the council had refused the plan, which would involve the garden centre relocating from Havant Road, Horndean, to Mays Coppice Farm in Whichers Gate Road.

Councillors went against officers’ recommendations – and refused the plans on the grounds of it potentially ruining the unspoilt rural gateway to the village.

Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery had also outlined his concerns over traffic.

Marge Harvey, councillor for Rowlands Castle, has requested the inquiry takes place in the village.

People have between now and February 4 to make representations for the inquiry, which is likely to take place in the spring.

Cllr Harvey said: ‘Our argument is very strong.

‘One of our arguments is about the traffic along that road.

‘The strongest thing is the landscape officer from East Hampshire District Council agreed with us that the entrance to the village is rural.

‘To put something the size of this would spoil the rural entrance to the village.

‘East Hampshire District Council right through their planning has said they need to protect green fields.’

No-one from Keydell Nurseries was available for comment.

The Strange family has owned Keydell Nurseries for more than 100 years and has said the new garden centre would have minimal impact as there would be substantial screening by tree planting.

There are also plans for a 30mph speed limit to allay traffic concerns.

The site in Horndean is earmarked for housing.

Representations should be made by sending three copies to The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/05 Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN, quoting APP/M1710/A/12/2187927/NWF.

Alternatively email teamp13@pins.gsi.gov.uk.