A BISHOP’S Waltham company is looking to the future after 40 years of trading with a new development in the pipeline.

Fox Garden Machinery is set to open a 2,000 sq ft showroom on a site which could also see nearly 30 flats, along with shops, being built.

As reported in the Chronicle, plans by Country Homes Guildford are for 28 flats and five ground floor shops near Malt Lane.

The scheme also includes a replacement NHS facility and youth hall following the demolition of the existing buildings.

But Foxes, which was established in 1978, will continue to trade on the site.

Sylvia Morant, one of the managing directors along with Nigel Fox, said they feel “positive” about the possible revamp of the site, particularly with them reaching their milestone.

“We will be here trading, welcoming people into our new showroom - we are here for the long run,” she said.

The development at the junction with Winchester Road would also include 44 parking spaces, 28 of which would be assigned to the apartments.

A report submitted alongside the planning application states no affordable housing is viable at the site.

A developer spokesman said: “The application is a result of a number of public consultations where over 100 local residents expressed their views as to how best to proceed and which showed a clear majority in favour of a traditional approach to design.

“This has been taken onboard by local architects Studio 4, who have produced an approach that reflect the many differing architectural style that make up the town.”

“The shopping element will offer the opportunity to extend visually the town square along the Winchester Road frontage and by the incorporation small units, with individually designed shop fronts, to reflect the existing eclectic architectural style of the town centre.”

There will be a further period for public consultation and discussions are already proceeding with the trustees of the Youth Hall as to the specification for new facilities.

Following preliminary archaeological work, it is hoped that construction will start towards the end of the year.

A decision is due on the application by Winchester City Council by Thursday, April 26.