Plans for the construction of a grain store in Tangley will go ahead despite councillors raising concerns it would put a junction “dangerously close” to a blind bend.

Councillors were concerned that a new access point to be built on Mays Down Lane would be too close to the brow of a hill, and next to the 60mph A343 road to Newbury.

Cllr Nick Matthews voted against the plans, saying: “I wouldn’t be comfortable if I’ve agreed to this and then we later find out there had been an accident or fatality and I was party to that.”

However, the Northern Area Planning Committee of Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) subsequently voted to recommend the plans for approval on Thursday, January 7, subject to planning obligations being agreed.

The Hunt family, which owns Manor Farm, had submitted plans to build a new grain store and dryer on land near Doles Farm between Enham Alamein and Hurstbourne Tarrant in June, to replace an existing store that is “inefficient and over 50 years old”.

Concerns had been raised about placing the facility in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty, but these had been addressed by changes to the colour of the building, as well as the planting of new trees and hedges to screen it from the surrounding landscape.

Instead, concerns were primarily raised about access to the site. The track along which grain lorries would travel is a designated public footpath, with resident Richard Morgan saying that the track is so narrow that there would be “no space for dog walkers, children and cyclists to pass an HGV in a safe manner.”

Andover resident John Crozier, meanwhile, described the situation as “an accident waiting to happen,” and said that he was convinced it was “another attempt to ban walkers from public footpaths”.

However, a representative of the Hunt family said that the access track “has been used for farm operations ever since we have farmed here.”

He said: “We have always welcomed walkers on the farm and consider their safety as paramount. We keep our 12 footpaths in good condition, providing clear signage.”

To alleviate concerns, proposals made by a number of residents, to create a permissive footpath through fields adjacent to the track, have been taken up, with the path to be outlined in a section 106 legal agreement between the farm and council.

However, Cllr Phil North, a guest at the meeting, said that he was concerned there were no proposals to extinguish the current footpath along the track.

He said: "Anyone who picks up an OS Map, or has already waked that route, will run the risk at coming into conflict with huge grain lorries,” adding: “I would be much more comfortable if the right of way were moved.”

He also noted concerns about road safety, saying the risk of lorries being struck by vehicles on Mays Down Lane and the A343 worried him “greatly.”

Concerns about access were also raised by Cllr Nick Matthews, who said that the proposed new access site for the track was “dangerously close” to a blind bend and the brow of a hill.

He said: “I would have been delighted to see the access a bit further down just to give a bit more visibility.

“I wouldn’t be comfortable if I’ve agreed to this and then we later find out there had been an accident or fatality and I was party to that.”

His thoughts were echoed by Cllr David Coole, who said he was “surprised that the applicant would put the junction so close to the road and lane junction.”

Cllr Carl Borg-Neal, chair of the planning committee, said that the plans were “delivering greater splay [visibility at a road junction] than [Hampshire County Council] were prepared to accept.”

Meanwhile, Phil Jackson, the head of planning at TVBC, said that refusing these plans on the basis of traffic safety put the council “at risk.”

He said: “We need to be clear that highway experts advised the proposed arrangements and they’ve concurred. In effect, we’ve got three highways specialists that have indicated that this junction is safe. If members want to refuse this application, and we go to appeal, then members have to have a clear reason for refusal that we can represent at appeal should we end up there.”

He said that TVBC’s success rate on appeal, if they were to go against the advice of highways specialists, would be “pretty low, if not non-existent,” adding: “We would be at risk, and that risk would be of unreasonable behaviour.”

Following a debate, the plans were put to a vote. They passed with eight votes to four, with Cllrs Tony Burley, David Coole, Christopher Ecclestone and Nick Matthews voting against.

As such, subject to the terms of planning obligations, including the new permissive footpath, the work to construct the new facility may now go ahead.