WINCHESTER planners have approved a new store at a cafe frequented by bikers, in the teeth of opposition from local people.

The owner of Loomies, Fullick - Loperty Ltd, have applied for four containers to be used for storage behind the cafe on the A32 Alton Road, near West Meon.

Local people opposed the plan saying it would encourage more use of the cafe and result in an increase in noise pollution. The A32 and A272 attract many motorcyclists, some of whom break the speed limit and with some with illegal exhaust 'silencers'.

A city council report listed 84 objections mainly from local people with 29 letters in support, with most coming from outside the area. Objectors said the noise pollution would mar the tranquillity of the South Downs National Park.

Objector Steve Gale told the committee that noise pollution was getting worse particularly on Wednesdays and weekends in the summer months.

Local councillor Hugh Lumby said the planners were ignoring local concerns and that there had been 94 not 84 objections. He said: "I question why there has been no environmental assessment or acoustic analysis done."

He said the containers would blight the landscape and set a precedent. "This is landscape vandalism that will attract more crowds to Loomies and blight the lives of locals."

The application was listed as a workshop/store but the city council planning committee heard that was incorrect and no work would be allowed.

Planning officer Hannah Harrison recommended approval. She said: "It's storage for things like a lawnmower and not to encourage more traffic. There will be no form of mechanical work within the containers, it is solely just for storage."

She acknowledged that it would help Loomies "maintain the business. During lockdown many businesses have closed down."

Cllr Frank Pearson, who represents the Central Meon Valley ward, said: "A storage container does not make a noise. It's the bikes that make a noise. I understand what the local community have said and I agree with that. But this application has no connection with any noise. If it becomes a mechanical workshop that would be different but we are assured it is just for storage."

Cllr Chris Westwood said the storage would indirectly worsen the noise pollution: "The reason they require more storage is to generate more business. More storage, more footfall and therefore more noise through the site."

The committee voted by eight to one to approve the storage plan.

Read more here: Loomies plans for cafe near West Meon