A STATE-OF-THE-ART assisted living facility on the site of one of Alresford’s major businesses has been approved.

Amended plans for homes for the elderly at the Warwick Brothers industrial site at The Dean were approved by Winchester's planning committee.

The application by Yourlife Management Services will include of 50 one and two bedroom units with communal lounges, a restaurant, a wellness room, a guest suite and parking.

The plans were reported to committee due to the six letters of objection that were received.

Objections were raised over lack of parking and the height of the original three-storey building.

The amendments include moving the building back from the northern boundary by around two metres.

The northern wing has also been cut back at the second floor level and the layout of the lower-ground floor has been re-arranged.

Officer Jill Lee said the benefit of the application's location was it was close to the town centre and would have transport links to shops and Alrebury Park.

Agent Ben Dinelli confirmed the facility was not a retirement home, nor a nursing or medical facility, but was designed for independent living with features such as support staff and provision of meals.

Councillor Angela Clear queried whether 33 parking spaces would be enough given visitors and staff.

"This is just inflicting the problem on the town," she said.

Councillor Ian Tait said he would support the application, but added: "To not be able to deliver any affordable housing in a sustainable location is disappointing."

The Winchester Local Plan says all development which increases housing must supply 40 percent as affordable housing.

However, the applicants proved that this was not viable.

Ms Lee added that should plans for the car park fall through, the money would go towards affordable housing.

Alresford resident Mrs Macree said: "We do have retirement homes, none of them would have the things I am looking for. I would want to take my car. I live in a bungalow but it is a bit big. It (the application) is the kind of thing I would look for in a few years time. It may not be affordable housing but if all the elderly sell to downsize, there would be room and cheaper houses on the market."

Mrs Wimbleton, a resident of Alresford for 46 years, described the plans as, "most attractive."

"It would release much needed properties into the market," she said.

The application was approved unanimously.