PROPOSALS to convert a convent into flats and build 67 houses in church grounds have been welcomed by some residents.
Linden Homes gave the public a first glimpse of the plans to transform the derelict grounds of the former Sacred Heart Church, off London Road, Waterlooville.
A preservation order means the church cannot be touched but the convent is set to be refurbished and the laundry and other outbuildings demolished.
A new £2.6m Sacred Heart Church was built 100 yards away along with a parish centre – which was where the exhibition was held yesterday.
Ronald and Winnie Simcock, who live close by in Cavendish Close, are happy to see the land built on.
Mr Simcock, 75, said: ‘It looks like a reasonable, modern development.
‘It’s nice to see they are actually doing their own drainage on site because the existing system seems to be overloaded.
‘It seems well spaced out with a good mixture of properties and I’m glad to see they are retaining the chapel.’
Father Tom Grufferty, from St Joseph’s Church, in Havant, went along to see the plans.
He said: ‘The site has been redundant for so long that it’s good to see things happening.
‘The new church is up and running and that’s terrific but perhaps there are too many houses on the site and they should consider a little more green space.
‘It’s near the town centre which is good but I would have thought the residents will have trouble with access.
‘Getting in and getting out may be a bit of a problem because each house will probably have a couple of cars each and that may cause congestion.’
But Linden’s highways consultant Ian Roberts said he did not foresee any problems – even with the busy London Road roundabout nearby.
‘The traffic on the roundabout will be negligible,’ Mr Roberts said. ‘Sixteen of the units will be served with access from Hulbert Road and 68 off London Road,
‘Traffic generation is going to be low compared to suburbia.’
The plans are for 17 one and two-bedroom flats in the convent, five one-bedroom houses, 33 two-bedroom houses, 29 three-bedroom houses and 17 four-bedroom houses.
There will be further consultation over the next few weeks with a planning application expected to be submitted to Havant Borough Council in May.