CONTROVERSIAL plans have been approved to extend the length of time marketing signs can be installed at a major city centre development.

Councillors gave the green light to the application, which will now see the signage remain at the entrance to the former Hampshire Constabulary headquarters in Romsey Road until May 2023.

As previously reported, construction is ongoing at the site to build more than 200 homes. Permission was granted in 2016 to allow temporary signs until August 2020.

More than a dozen angry residents attended the meeting of Winchester City Council’s planning committee to see the plans debated, but were told off by chairman Cllr Laurence Ruffell after loudly applauding criticism of the scheme.

The committee heard objections from residents that the signage on the West End Terrace side of the development is not appropriate for a conservation area and that the vehicle access is causing traffic and safety problems.

There were also complaints over a lack of consultation, while Don Burley, speaking on behalf of residents, argued: “Berkeley Homes (who are building the flats) have sufficient marketing on Romsey Road.”

Cllr Lucille Thompson, of St Paul ward, also spoke in objection, and called on the chairman to treat residents “with courtesy” during the meeting. She said: “It’s very difficult for residents to pass, it’s completely inappropriate for the access at West End Terrace to be used for vehicular access.

“What is to stop Berkeley Homes coming back to this committee for a further extension?”

Among the other objectors were the council’s highways engineers, who said one of the signs would “obscure visibility for vehicles emerging onto West End Terrace”, while the City of Winchester Trust feared further extensions allowing vehicle access via West End Terrace. In total, 43 objections were lodged.

The decision to approve the proposal by six votes to one comes less than two months after councillors allowed an increase in the number of homes at the site. The number of affordable one and two-bed flats will now increase at the expense of larger two and three-bed dwellings.