A STRIP of land in Itchen Stoke will not be used as an agricultural access track, civic chiefs have decided.

Winchester City Council had received an application to "reinstate" the track off Folly Hill Lane to "help with agricultural work".

But at a planning committee meeting on Thursday June 18, councillors refused the plans after hearing from the chairman of Itchen Stoke and Ovington Parish Council.

Cllr David Cook said: "I've spoken to a number of residents who have lived near the said land since the 1950s. They say there has never been a track there before, so how can this be a reinstatement?"

He added: "We don't feel the applicant needs this to allow large vehicles in and out of the field.

"It is highly unlikely the large agricultural vehicles will be used more than ten times a year. It seems very unnecessary."

Agent for the applicant, Richard Osbourne, said that in his "honest opinion", the track had been there for a number of years.

He told the committee: "The application never intended to cause distress. It is for the benefit of ongoing agricultural practice only, and will not contribute to any form of traffic in the area.

"My client, who does not own the land, asked for the landowners permission to craft the track. He was told that, if he did everything off his own back, that wouldn't be a problem.

"And that's all there is to it. It's simply to help his work. The track has been designed to harmonise with the surrounding setting."

Cllr Kim Gottlieb sided with the local residents that had objected.

He said: "I can't agree with this. The track would completely change the relationship those living nearby have with their gardens and the countryside beyond."