NEW plans have been submitted to build a huge garden centre in the middle of the countryside.
The Strange family, owners of Keydell Nurseries, based in Horndean, want to move the business to land off Mays Coppice Farm, off Whichers Gate Lane, in Rowlands Castle.
The previous plans were rejected by East Hampshire District Council’s planning committee in a knife-edge vote – despite being recommended for approval by the planning department.
The plan was turned down because of the impact on the landscape and access for horse riders and pedestrians crossing busy Whichers Gate Road.
But the new scheme has in place an agreement to give Hampshire County Council £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.
Cllr Harvey said: ‘I don’t think it’s right they offer £160,000 to change a rural road into an urban road.
‘They are going to do highway improvements just so they can put their nursery there.’
And she is worried about light pollution being generated by the garden centre at night.
She said: ‘That road is a very dark road.
‘A few years ago the parish council asked people on Whichers Gate Road if they wanted more lighting.
‘But residents said they like it being a dark area. They are going to come and put a huge glass house there.
‘It will be lit up like a Christmas tree in the winter and will change the whole setting of Rowlands Castle.
‘They are changing the intrinsic character of Rowlands Castle with this urban sprawl.’
But developers have promised to invest in highway improvements and minimise impact on the village.
Representations should be made to East Hampshire District Council by June 11.