HUNDREDS of people attended a consultation on major development plans for the outskirts of Romsey.

Developer Highwood Group revealed plans for more than 250 houses, office space and warehouses at Hillier Brentry Nursery, Jermyns Lane.

A public consultation was held at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Ampfield, on Monday, November 13.

The consultation was well attended, with organisers reporting queues outside as the event opened at 4pm. 

The proposals include office space and warehouses for the Hillier plant nursery. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Hillier Brentry public consultation

George Hillier, director of property at Hilliers, said: “This is a hugely important scheme for us because it will help us with plant production in the coming years. One of the strengths of this development is the mix of employment creation and the creation of homes for the community. It's great news that 40 per cent falls into the affordable bracket. 

READ MORE: Hillier Brentry Nursery major plans for more than 250 houses

“Of course, whenever you do a public consultation some people will have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction. But we have had some really well-considered responses.”

Martin Hawthorne, planning director at Highwood Group, said: “This will achieve jobs, much-needed investment in the community and affordable housing. The feedback has been pretty good, there's always issues on these kinds of things. A lot of people understood why this is required. 

“But this is still very early days. Having a decent turnout with lots of relevant comments gives us the information we need, so when we get to the planning application stage, we've hopefully addressed all the issues.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Martin Hawthorne

Mr Hawthorne added that the aim was to submit a planning application early next year. 

Reacting to the plans, Cllr Geoff Cooper said: “As you might imagine, opinions were mixed. However, whether you think the development is a good idea or not, or whether it adequately considers infrastructure and environmental impacts or not is not the main concern here. 

“The correct process for assessing the merits of this type of development within Test Valley is through the council's Local Plan initiative, which is currently underway. This site sits outside the current plan and therefore needs to be included in a future local plan process to allow it to be judged alongside potential new developments. It is important that due process is followed to ensure our residents have confidence that any new development has been properly considered and each individual development's merits weighed.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Hillier Brentry public consultation

Cllr Sally Yalden said: “We have to remember that there is an existing local plan process for allocating housing sites. Test Valley Borough Council already has a five-year housing land supply. The proposal is outside of the agreed local plan and it’s in an area designated as countryside. 

“The proper time to debate this is when TVBC is developing the next version of the local plan when all the potential new housing sites can be assessed against each other. 

“For some clarity, the site is not Hillier Arboretum (Sir Harold Hillier Gardens), but a collaboration between Hillier Nurseries which is a separate commercial business and a housing developer.”

For more details about the proposals, visit