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Public inquiry will rule on Hants garden centre plan

Published: 7 January 2013
A Hampshire garden centre is hoping that a public inquiry this spring will override opposition to a relocation of the business.
Public inquiry will rule on Hants garden centre plan
Keydell Nurseries - whose family owners have been farmers and growers in the area for over a century - operates from a site at Havant Road in Horndean. However, the owners now want to move the business to their 80-acre farm 2.5 miles away at Rowlands Castle - but have so far had their plans thwarted by local councillors.

Partner David Strange told "It's a much better site and we want to move to new premises and modernise: what we've got here has been here for 25 years. In turn, this site will be housing, we hope."

He said the relocation plan fulfilled all the planning rules and regulations but that local councillors had gone against the recommendation of the East Hampshire District Council planning officer to approve it.

"They've opposed it because it's a green field site and because of the impact on the landscape," he said. But he explained: "The buildings are of a low height, and we want to have a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable site, with collection of rainwater to go into ecology ponds, extensive landscaping, environmentally-friendly heating systems, maximum insulation of the buildings. And we're going to be employing people. We estimate the garden centre's going to cost between £5m and £7m."

He said the new centre would be about the same size as the existing one, with a retail area of around 60,000sq ft, plus areas for growing.

The plans will now go to a public inquiry, possibly to be held in April. When asked what he would do if the relocation was turned down Mr Strange said: "We haven't got that far yet - but we're optimistic."


Published prior to March 2014
By impartial viewer
I live a lot closer to the propossed green field countyrside site for the new nursery thant the prior commentator. Not so close for me to see both a balance of advantage and disadvantage with the propossed development. For me the key issues are those very local, both resident and users of this countryside, in a large majority do not want this light industrial scale development in their locality of the countryside. Already the local road is an accident blackspot, this development brings more traffic an earlier smaller farm shop propossed development here have been refused on road safety grounds. This development moves one established nursery away from major arterial roads to country roads and closer to to other nurseries, no bus routes to the new site so more car journeys. This development is not just a nursery or garden centre, more of a retail space (have you seen their Christmas shop) with a 30% potential increase on size over their previous site. This development has been deviously sought by the early purchase of farm land/countryside for development and the proposed re-sale of their prior site for housing, this company has done exactly the same a generation before. Oh by the way they already employ the people at their old site, no significant news jobs will be made, just the loss of more countryside. One more thing EHDC refused plasn twice and the Parish Council are in their support. Both the District Council and Parish Council have taken legal representation for the Public Inquiry. Duh! the local community do not want this money chasing development to take more of our country side away (which can never be given back). They have said so twice already now, that is democracy in action, I very much hope the Public Inquiry will come to the same and very reasonable and balanced opinion given all the facts in mind.
Published prior to March 2014
By David Meager
Living some 7 miles from the site and knowing the area I believe it is an excellent idea to allow the reloction. Some people appear to spend their life like an ostrich with its head in the sand. I understand that the Council planning Officers recommended the move but councillors voted against the knowledge of their experts. Could there be vested interests at play?

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