CONCERNS about traffic congestion and overdevelopment were raised as plans to redevelop a convent and its grounds went on show.
More than 50 residents packed into Havant’s council chamber as developers laid out initial proposals to build 83 homes on the site of the former St Michael’s Convent, off London Road, Waterlooville.
Linden Homes want to convert the convent into 17 apartments, with the rest of the homes being built in the grounds.
The convent and adjacent chapel, both listed buildings, used to be the base for the Sacred Heart Church until a new £2.6m church opened last year.
Residents told the meeting 83 dwellings was too many.
It comes as Peter Holloway, a spokesman for residents in Hermitage Gardens, said he would never have bought his house last year if he knew so many houses were in the pipeline.
He said: ‘We knew something might be built there but when we contacted Havant Borough Council we were told they would not be allowed to build any more than 57 houses and the part of the land nearest our garden would not be developed because there is an old apple orchard there, a sewage pipe running through it and it is so steep.
‘Now we’ve found out they want to build right at the bottom of our land, 26 more houses than we were told.
‘They will encroach on our privacy.’
Council officers said the land was earmarked for 57 homes in the latest local plans – but this figure was ‘indicative’.
John Briggs, from Waterlooville Community Forum Steering Group, told the meeting: ‘The transport infrastructure of the borough is already fully stretched.’
But Ian Roberts, highways consultant, said the road network could cope, with 34 vehicle movements estimated from London Road at peak times and eight movements from the Hulbert Road side.
John O’Donovan, the developer’s planning consultant, said: ‘I would suggest it is an ideal site for housing.
‘It’s very close to Waterlooville town centre, to employment opportunities and to the bus corridor.’