Councillor’s new home application set for rejection

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THE planning application at the heart of a row which saw a councillor quit Fareham’s ruling Tory group and become independent looks set to be turned down.

Councillor Nick Gregory, who runs the Little Munchkins Nursery on The Avenue in Fareham, wants to build a three-storey, four bedroom home on the land next to the existing nursery building.

But an officer’s report recommends refusing the application.

Planning officer Kim Hayler’s report said: ‘The size of the plot combined with the design and proposed materials of the dwelling would result in development out of keeping with and harmful to the character of the area.’

When an application was made to change the building from a hotel to nursery in 2009, the ‘thick evergreen hedge’ was cited as a means of reducing noise pollution.

That hedge has also recently been removed.

Cllr Gregory said: ‘I will be very, very surprised if they go against the recommendation.

‘There’s no condition on that hedge, and part of the issue that Lee Smith, the head of planning, had with the application was that it was that it was being squeezed into that site.

‘That hedge takes up two metres of my boundary, and it was also pushing the fence over so it seemed sensible to remove it.

‘If it is deemed necessary, I will put a new hedge in.’

Five letters of objection from residents also have been received.

Cllr Gregory has also put in for an application to change the use of the existing building at the site – with the ground floor remaining a nursery, but the first floor becoming a three bedroom residential unit, plus a single-storey extension.

Officers have recommended this for approval.

Cllr Gregory and Tory colleague Cllr Dave Whittingham announced in October they were leaving the Tory group because of concerns over the council’s leadership and proposals for a new solar power farm at south Fareham.

But council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward hit back, claiming Cllr Gregory was about to be suspended from the group because of concerns about his behaviour and repeatedly lobbying members of the council’s planning committee to support his planning application.

The application will go before Fareham’s planning committee tomorrow.