A PLANNING application to build a block of 18 flats on land proposed for community use in Picket Twenty has been thrown out by the Test Valley Borough Council.

The proposal for the development at Local Centre in Picket Twenty was rejected in a Northern Area Planning Committee Meeting.

The application submitted by Persimmon Homes had plans to build 15 two-bed flats and three one-bed flats with a car park for 36 vehicles on land proposed for community use.

The affordable housing requirement for the land is 7.2 dwellings, and the plan was to build seven affordable houses and 0.2 to be a financial contribution.

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According to the submission, at present, the site is vacant and has until recently been used as a material and works compound for construction of the surrounding development.

Earlier, there were suggestions to use the land to build a new pub, but they could not find any pub operators.

According to the application, the pub operators that viewed the site felt that it was too ‘buried within the residential dwellings’ and ‘not the correct demographic’. They said, whilst the site is capable of hosting a ‘managed pub’ this business model relies on passing trade as well as regulars, and the location within the housing estate means that it is not a prominent location which will ultimately affect target profits and viability.

The application had received 10 letters of objection from residents who had concerns about increasing traffic and safeguarding issues due to the presence of a nursery near the site.

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Andover Town Council had also objected to the plan citing the high level of nitrates, reliance on the community car park and insufficient bins among other concerns.

Andover Town Councillor Barbara Long said she is happy that the Test Valley Borough Council took this line and refused the application at this particular point in time.

“It can now be really looked at and see if Picket Twenty can be served better through this piece of land.

“The land was supposed to be given to the community as a public house. Picket Twenty has only one shop now for around 1,600 people. If you look at Augusta Park, it has a row of shops. Picket Piece has a row of shops Picket Twenty is just as much as a town as Augusta Parka and Picket Piece.

“Hopefully the developer will look at it again and rethink rather than just building another block of houses. It is going to put pressure on the schools as well which is at full capacity.”

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Kimberley Barber