PLANS to build a new health and well-being centre in Bishop’s Waltham for elderly people have been unanimously approved.

The centre, in Little Shore Lane, will be built next to the Jubilee Hall and create an additional 71 parking spaces.

The centre will feature a medical room, café, hairdressers, craft and community rooms and formal and informal gardens. It will greatly improve facilities for older people in the Meon Valley.

City councillors say the extra parking will ease problems in the town. The area is open space and they agreed that whilst losing it was not ideal, the benefit to the community outweighed the loss.

Bishop’s Waltham PC chairman, Judy Marsh, asked the planning committee to approve the scheme. “Parking has long been a problem. The council does have concerns about the impact of vehicles and access. We welcome the proposal to investigate the traffic order on Shore Lane.

“This seems to be the only viable space. We own it, so hopefully we can run it and it should free up the other car parks.”

Councillors also heard from Yvette Christian, deputy director of Age Concern Hampshire, who said the centre would benefit the local ageing population and could possibly see a partnership with the local doctor’s surgery.

Ms Christian said: “We will be providing specialist care. We are very keen to provide the excellent care that we do, and we want to do that in Bishop’s Waltham.

“A partnership would be great. If the older people are there already, why not get the nurses in to do their blood pressure?”

The meeting also heard from John Watts, a resident of Eastways, some 30m from the site, who said: “I see this as a planning loss. I’ve lived here for 42 years and it has always been dedicated to recreational use.”

The application was unanimously approved last Thursday.