PLANNERS have approved an application to build a new office and retail space in Bishop’s Waltham.

The proposal, put forward by Sabrecore Holdings, will see some existing buildings at The Old Forge on Brook Street demolished to make way for the offices.

The city council planning committee discussed the plans on Wednesday, November 15.

Speaking against the application, Kris Ford, from Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council, said it was “contrary to the local plan.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Cllr Kris Ford speaking before the planning committeeCllr Kris Ford speaking before the planning committee (Image: Chris Atkinson)READ MORE: Villagers lose battle to stop recycling centre from doubling number of lorries

He said: “Whilst we acknowledge the designers have changed the first floor plans, we still feel that the overall impact visually is not in keeping with the surrounding area at all. It’s far too modern.

“We are aware that the neighbours are concerned about over-looking, going from a single-storey building to a double-storey, which we completely understand. And when we try and look from every angle that this is going to be visible from, it will have an impact on the overall scene.

“It’s just too modern, we think, for the entire area it is going to be sat in.”

Toby Wincer, who supported the application, told the committee: “This proposal not only adheres to the principles of the relevant planning policies but also embodies a vision of a thoughtful design aimed at enhancing Bishop’s Waltham’s town centre. The pursuit of economic and commercial growth outlined in policy MPRA2, this project strategically integrates additional office space reflecting a commitment to enhancing the local townscape.

“The transition from a dated, one-and-a-half storey existing building to a modest, two-storey structure employs sustainable, high-quality materials, chosen to respect the historic context and contribute positively to the area's evolution.”

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Hampshire Chronicle: Map of the proposed siteMap of the proposed site (Image: Winchester City Council)Cllr Michael Read said: “It is an interesting proposed structure to go into the conservation area. I understand the reason why not keeping the existing structures as part of the conservation area. However, there is a concern with me that the foundations are going to be very close to all the boundaries on three sides.”

Cllr Chris Edwards said: “The application is within a conservation area, and I listened carefully to the comments made by the representative of the Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council. However, it is also on three sides surrounded by 20th century buildings and I think one critical point for me is that it doesn’t have a façade directly onto a row of historical buildings.

“If this building was fronting onto Brook Street I might feel differently. I disagree with the suggestions that this would damage the conservation area, I think it would enhance it.”

The planning committee unanimously voted to permit the application.