CONTROVERSIAL plans for a historic Winchester site were passed by a single vote despite a number of concerns.

Following the approval, the proposals will now see the garage at 84 Water Lane demolished and replaced with a new living space. A tree will also be felled.

The site, which is at the corner with Blue Ball Hill and fronts onto the River Itchen, would provide "ancillary accommodation [which] is required due to the property owners increasing need for care and assistance with living in the near future", according to a planning statement.

It added: "The ancillary accommodation will provide additional space for family members or care workers to visit the property for longer periods of time."

However, it proved to be a divisive issue for Winchester City Council's planning committee as councillors were split four votes to four on a recommendation to give it the green light. The scheme was only approved by planning committee chairman Cllr Laurence Ruffell's deciding vote.

More than a dozen objections were lodged against the plans, which had been slightly amended, including from The City of Winchester Trust.

A spokesman wrote: "The underlying problem, that this is a sensitive site within the conservation area, remains and it is not at all clear that it is appropriate to introduce a new self-contained unit within the garden of this house."

City councillor Rosemary Burns, who also objected, added that there was no present need for an ancillary building and it would not enhance or preserve the character of the conservation area.

Another objector was resident Roger Davey, who told the committee: "It would open the floodgate for many applications like it in the future."

Mr Davey added that it would have an "appalling impact on the view".

Debating the scheme, committee member Cllr Eileen Berry agreed, saying: "This proposed building is going to be a tremendous eyesore."

However, a report from historic environment officer Jon Willetts disagreed with these points. Mr Willetts said: "The impact of the outbuilding upon this part of the street scene and the neighbouring listed buildings would be considered to be neutral... and would thus 'preserve' the character and appearance of the conservation area."