Parking fears over plans for old laboratory

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RESIDENTS have voiced concerns about access to a proposed new retirement home on the former site of an animal testing laboratory.

Developer McCarthy & Stone held a public exhibition to test opinions on its plans for the Wickham Labs site on Winchester Road in Wickham.

And although most people were generally in favour of the proposals, many were worried about access onto the busy main road and a lack of parking spaces.

Provisional plans for the single-acre plot include two and three-storey buildings for 33 one and two-bedroom flats with 13 parking spaces.

Eaon Furnell, 74, of Cases Bakery Close, Wickham, said: ‘Even before coming here I thought it sounded like a good use of a brownfield site.

‘But only providing 13 parking spaces for potentially 66 people is not enough.

‘The entrance also happens to be in a very busy part of that road.’

Michael Hollis, 68, of Buddens Road, said: ‘The problem is that on that corner there’s a listed building and then there’s only a very narrow pavement on one side, and no pavement at all on the other.

‘With the plans they’ve got at the moment, you would have to be unsighted of the traffic until your car is about two feet into the road, which is very dangerous.’

June Towson lives near the site on Winchester Road.

She added: ‘I’ve been campaigning about the speed and safety on this road for seven years, and that’s my main concern here.’

Jeremy Osborne of The Planning Bureau, which is representing McCarthy & Stone, said: ‘Obviously the labs have caused a fair bit of controversy here in the past, but this location is an ideal fit for us. We think people will want to live in a McCarthy a& Stone place would want to live in Wickham.’

He added ‘access is obviously a bit of an issue,’ but said the number of parking spaces is in line with similar developments and that the number of vehicle movements in and out of the home would be less than when it was the labs.

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