PLANS for a historic Winchester building to be converted into a “sophisticated grocery store” have come under fire from neighbours and its former owners.

Alex Donnan and Laura Turner applied for a premises licence for The Pump House, in Garnier Road, St Cross, to transform it into “an independent upmarket/retail café/retail and bar concept that will be appealing to couples, tourists, families and commuters,” according to their application.

The pair are the co-founders of the General Store Winchester, in The Square.

Now 38 objections to the application have been made public as the proposed scheme is set to go before Winchester City Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee on Monday.

The Victorian building was previously owned by Southern Water, but in recent years has been offices for a public relations firm.

Chris Rowley, senior estates manager at Southern Water said: “The applicant should already be aware that Southern Water operates a wastewater pumping station to the rear of their property and we are concerned there will be an increased risk to the public due to their increased numbers in the area and our need to access our site at all times.”

He added: “That is to say, offering alcohol for consumption could encourage too much of a relaxed atmosphere leading to customers parking, walking or sitting on or around the access to the pumping station thus putting them, and possibly staff working at the café, at unacceptable risk of getting too close of heavy tankers and other vehicles entering or leaving our site.”

Pump House neighbour Hannah Simmons, of Garnier Road, wrote to the council: “The site is unsuitable for drinking alcohol; it is a working water works with access by Southern Water often in response to flooding or when there is heavy rain. Large lorries pumping sewage need 24 access to the back of The Pump House and increases in members of the public and their cars on this site will compromise safety and the function of the site.”

Lorraine D’Souza, of Kingsgate Road, said: “It is a very busy and narrow road with a pinch-point and already has a number of parking restrictions in place. The opening of the Handlebar Café on St Catherine’s Hill has already resulted in more traffic and overspill parking on Garnier Road and the addition of a venue selling alcohol will surely increase the number of cars coming to the area.”

Norman Road resident Elizabeth Wilkinson added: “Such an establishment has the potential to significantly add to noise and light pollution, littering and anti-social behaviour in an area that has a delicate eco-system.”

Concerns were also raised about the impact of the premises on the Site of Importance for Nature Conservation Clausentum Fen and Keat’s Walk.

The report to councillors also states that Hampshire Constabulary made a representation against the application in relation to the prevention of crime and disorder licensing objective, but during the consultation period a number of conditions relating to CCTV were agreed between the police and the applicant, the representation was withdrawn.

Conditions have been proposed if the committee grants approval, including the times of recorded music, permitted hours to supply alcohol and opening hours, and the installation of a recording CCTV system.

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