COUNCILLORS have objected to plans to relocate a Whitchurch nursery to an unused plot of land just off a residential street.

Around 120 members of the public attended Tuesday’s meeting of Whitchurch Town Council’s development committee, which had been moved to the parish hall to meet the level of public interest.

The committee objected to the plan by five votes to one, but before a decision was reached ex-mayor Cllr John Buckley issued a rallying call to those present and the town as a whole.

Before the vote, Cllr Buckley said: “I have got big mixed feelings about this application.”

He admitted he was “likely to object to the decision” before adding: “I’m only doing it because I’m actually relying on all of you who have objected to this application to stand up and stop big developments in our town.”

The application proposes relocating Whitchurch Montessori Nursery and its forest school to land at the Knowlings. The nursery needs a new site as its current lease, at Testbourne school, expires early next year.

The proposal has split opinion within the town. Prior to the vote at Tuesday’s meeting various parties spoke both against and in favour of the application. Those opposing the plans cited numerous factors, including the effect on traffic and the environment, while one speak suggested the relocation was a business decision and a choice rather than a need.

In response, the applicants noted that the nursery will have a maximum of nine vehicle movements during its busiest period. Rumours which had suggested that the nursery may open on Saturdays and that double yellow lines may appear on neighbouring streets were also debunked and confirmed to be false.

After more than an hour councillors then voted, rejecting the plans on the grounds that it does not have enough information.

Speaking after the meeting Julia Lymbery, who lodged the application, said: “The meeting was full of people both in support of and against the plans and was a great opportunity to address the concerns of local Whitchurch residents – which myself and our architect did. It is therefore a shame that the town council didn’t vote in favour of the plans.

“However, the plans for the nursery are still forging ahead and I will continue to work with the community, the town and borough councils and all other agencies to come to a beneficial conclusion for all.”