NEW car parking spaces and two new buildings can be built at a Hampshire business park after plans were permitted. 

Forth Engineering's scheme is to have 11 new spaces, the office buildings and five electric vehicle chargers at Sleepy Hollow Business Park in Ampfield Hill, Ampfield.

Despite an objection from Ampfield Parish Council and 18 members of the public, it was permitted by Test Valley Borough Council's southern area planning committee on Tuesday, January 30. 

The planning officers recommended permission. Their report said: “The proposal would provide an additional meeting / break-out space for existing occupants at Sleepy Hollow Business Park, while providing separate bin storage facilities, additional parking and electric vehicle charging points. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Sleepy Hollow Business Park site plan

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“The site is considered to be an existing employment site, while there would be minimal impact upon the character and appearance of the area, and wider countryside setting.

“Therefore, the application is not considered to be contrary to the provisions of the Test Valley Borough Revised Local Plan (2016), the Ampfield Village Design Statement or the National Planning Policy Framework.”

Two applications for office buildings in 2020 were refused by the council and dismissed at appeal. 

The officers' report said: “Recent refused applications sought to construct a new, additional office building of a much greater scale and size, with a much greater impact upon the character of the area when considered against the current proposal. It wasn’t subservient to the existing office, with a ridge line that was higher than the existing building on-site; furthermore, there was no defined direct link between the existing building and those that were proposed in the previous appeals, they were just providing additional office space. 

“The building proposed in the previous application / appeal schemes was much more visually intrusive within the street scene, with dominant views from both Ampfield Hill to the south, and the public right of way (Winghams Lane) to the north.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Carl Riley

The application's agent Carl Riley said: “There is a significant parking issue at the site. It's a fairly new development and transport links don't allow people to come by other means. 

“The applicant is very sustainably aware. This is far smaller than previous applications. The impact on the landscape is designed to be as minimal as possible.”

Cllr Sally Yalden, borough councillor for Ampfield, was unable to attend the meeting. Committee chairman Cllr Mark Cooper read out her presentation which said: “The site falls in the countryside. It's against the Ampfield Village Design Statement. 

“This will have an invasive impact on the rural environment. We should be reducing the need for car travel.”

The application was unanimously permitted.