Rejected plans see Gosport firm on the hunt for new premises

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A CAR dealership may lose its franchise after councillors rejected their plans to develop.

The owners of the Kia dealership, Fine Cars, at Elmore Road and Portsmouth Road, in Lee-on-the-Solent want to expand.

They must meet strict regulations set by Kia Motors and need a minimum showroom space of 165sq m.

Councillors rejected the bid on Wednesday due to traffic, noise and parking concerns.

Mike Habberfield spoke in support of the application and on behalf of Fine Cars.

He said: ‘This application is all about the ongoing survival of a well-established business.

‘We provide local service to the residents of Lee-on-the-Solent and Gosport, which otherwise could be lost.

‘Fine Cars is a long-standing Kia dealer and indeed is an award-winning dealer for its high standards of customer service.

‘They are currently under termination of franchise, solely because they are unable to meet the minimum standards of Kia Motors.’

The application received 33 letters of objection and 155 letters of support.

The firm had planned for years to move to Daedalus enterprise zone but was told it could not last year.

Adam Littlefield lives in Elmore Road opposite the MoT testing station and spoke on behalf of nearby residents.

He said: ‘The premises has been continually growing, either up or out.

‘The parking on Elmore Road and the surrounding streets is horrendous.

‘Customers and staff continue to park on double yellow lines outside the garage, causing traffic chaos seven days a week.’

He added noise pollution is ‘currently unacceptable’ and would be worse.

Cllr Peter Chegwyn to allow the expansion.

He said: ‘In the present climate particularly we need to be protecting local jobs.

‘The ideal solution would be to try, and the company have tried with the council, to try to move on to Daedalus.

‘That would solve it for everyone.’

Mayor and Lee West councillor John Beavis, said he sympathised with the owners but voted against the plans along with all other councillors.

He said: ‘Kia is a very successful business in Lee.

‘They employ 26 local people and have provided training and apprenticeships for over 32 years. There still do exist some significant concerns.’