THE Little Kitchen Company has got too big, planners heard.

City councillors on the planning committee have rejected plans for the events catering company to further expand at its premises at the former Rod Box shop site in Kings Worthy.

The company moved its base there and secured planning permission last year for a change of use of the shop to a mixed use with a store to be built in the back garden.

The planning committee last week heard that neighbours in St Mary’s Close were unhappy about a car park built off their quiet cul-de-sac to enable staff parking on the site.

The latest plan for the creation of a second flat above the premises, another building in the back garden and seven parking spaces at the rear came before the planning committee which met ‘virtually’.

Local city and county councillor Jackie Porter argued against the plan: “The Little Kitchen Company has gone from strength to strength and we wish them well for the future. But it has outgrown its current premises. It is over-development in a conservation area.”

Also objecting was the parish council and 15 others.

Penny Westlake, of London Road, said: “A business of this size with an industrial kitchen is just inappropriate at this site.”

Liam Presley, of St Mary’s Close, said the traffic on the narrow cul-de-sac, part of the Pilgrims’ Way, would endanger the thousands of walkers and cyclists who use it every year.

Applicant Dan Salanson said he had amended the plans in the light of feedback from residents.

Mr Salanson said in normal times four or five people would work there but that would increase in busy periods, such as a normal summer, to deal with outdoor events such as wedding and garden parties.

Cllr Jane Rutter, who represents Kings Worthy, said: “The Little Kitchen Company is a very popular and very successful local business which is appreciated by the local community.

“However, this site is not the right place for a growing industrial-scale catering business. The problems they have had with neighbours and deliveries in the few months they have been operating at full scale demonstrates this. It has had a huge impact on the local community.”

Cllr Mike Read said: “It has outgrown its current facilities. Nice company, wrong place.”

The committee heard there is a legal dispute about whether the company has the legal right to access its premises via St Mary’s Close, which is a private road. But that could not be part of their deliberations for legal reasons.

The committee voted by seven to two to turn down the application.