A TOWN council is objecting to plans for a large new nursery, despite one councillor calling for its support. 

An applicant called Hanslip has submitted a scheme for a 96-place nursery and two houses on the the former Ashfield bakery site in Southampton Road, Romsey. 

Romsey Town Council decided to submit an objection at its meeting on Thursday, May 9. 

Cllr Ian Culley said: “I think we should object, it's huge and it's in the countryside. Perhaps the two houses might be ok but the building itself is huge. The number of cars that will be going in and out of there is also an issue.”

The application is a resubmission of one that was refused by Test Valley Borough Council using delegated powers in October 2023. 

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Hampshire Chronicle: Nursery plan CGI

Cllr John Parker added: “It's interesting because the design and access statement acknowledges this is a direct resubmission of that which was refused before. It was refused by Test Valley on the grounds of unjustified development in the countryside. Interestingly the original application would now appear to be going to appeal.”

Cllr Russell Theron disagreed with the rest of the committee and encouraged them to support the plan. He said: “I'm going to throw a very big spanner into the works as the father of a pre-schooler and say I support this application. It's because there is a massive of pre-school and nursery places in this area for young people. I get the point that it's in the countryside and it's big. But it needs to be big because there are lots of young people who need spaces and if it's not in the countryside, where is it going to go? 

“From personal experience, I think we need it. The concern is we're getting more houses built and there is nowhere for these young people to go to pre-school.”

Cllr Mark Cooper said: “There's no site access of footpath access of any kind whatsoever. I wouldn't object to the construction of the two houses to replace the bakery. If you think about the valley of the Test, it's a very fragile entity. There will be plenty of room on the Whitenap site for a nursery. I strongly support an objection.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Nursery plan CGI

The committee decided to submit an objection on the grounds of it being in the countryside and therefore contrary to the local plan. 

The planning statement argued that the nursery is needed due to demand. It said: “Permitting this development would provide significant economic and social benefits to the area and help address a serious shortfall of nursery places. This shortfall is likely to increase with the increased demand that will be created by recent additional government allowances to parents to facilitate parental employment.”

By Sunday, May 12 the application had received no objecting or supporting comments from members of the public. 

For more information about the plans, search 24/00907/FULLS on Test Valley Borough Council's online planning portal.