Decision to reject Keydell plan ‘has saved lives on road’

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A DECISION not to allow a plant nursery to move to a countryside location has potentially prevented road deaths, according to community leaders.

Keydell Nursery was refused permission to move from its current site in Havant Road, Horndean, to a 5.4 hectare site at Mays Coppice Farm, off Whichers Gate Road, Rowlands Castle.

East Hampshire District Council’s planning committee voted nine to eight to turn down the proposal.

The decision was welcomed by Rowlands Castle parish councillors.

Councillor Alan Craggs said: ‘The road’s a death trap and I think it’s criminal for them to try to push this through.’

He explained there was a bend in the small country road at the proposed entrance to the site, with a hump-back bridge obscuring drivers’ views from the south. He also questioned the nursery owners’ claims that they would attempt to persuade people to visit on foot, or by bike.

He said: ‘In the last few years there have been a dozen serious accidents, with two fatalities. The nursery’s proposals are to build this centre, with 300 car parking spaces. How realistic is it for someone to attempt to carry an eight foot aspidistra home on a bike?’

Fellow councillor David Lester added: ‘This site is off a dangerous road, with features which could cause serious difficulties to people trying to get in and out. The refusal of the plan will stop an increase in fatalities.’

The Strange family, who have owned the business for more than 100 years, had hoped to move to modernise their nursery, and because the land at Horndean has been suggested as a site for 160 new homes.

Their representative, town planning consultant Bryan Jezeph, warned the family was likely to appeal to the government against the council’s decision.

He said: ‘The business has grown piece by piece and on the site they’re on now, it’s easy to get lost. Because East Hants council wants to build houses there, this was an opportunity to move, and modernise the business. I expect we will appeal this, in which case it is likely to be heard in March or April.’

Adrian Ellis, East Hants District Council’s principal planning officer, said the house-building plan was a suggestion, and no firm proposals were in place.