VILLAGERS vented their anger after losing a two-year battle to prevent a car showroom being replaced with homes and a shop.

The latest application to redevelop a site currently occupied by Hatch Motors in Station Road, Sway, was approved by just one vote at a meeting of the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA).

Landmark Estates was given the go-ahead to build four townhouses on the site, plus a Co-op convenience store with four flats above.

NPA members were jeered by some of the Sway residents who had fought the application.

Speaking after the meeting one of the protesters said: "They should have had the courage to reject this plan, which is dangerous and completely wrong for our village.”

Another villager added: "There is just not enough room for parking and lorries to get in and out safely."

Two applications to build a three-storey building on the site were rejected by the NPA in 2017. One of the proposals went to appeal but also was turned down by a government-appointed planning inspector.

The latest scheme also sparked protests.

Sway Parish Council described it as a "highly over-intensive development for such a small site" and warned that the proposed development would create extra traffic problems.

But NPA planning officers urged members to support the proposal.

Their report said: "The last scheme was dismissed at appeal but it it important to note that much of the proposal found favour with the inspector.

"The outstanding issue is whether the conflict between the shoppers' parking and the (store's) delivery arrangements has been addressed."

Referring to fears that delivery vehicles would have to rely on shoppers' spaces being vacant the report said the latest application included a dedicated delivery space.

It added: "Objectors have focused on the tightness of the site, the size of the parking (area) and the need for accurate manoeuvring. The site is tight, but diagrams indicate all manoeuvring is possible."

A Landmark Estates spokesman said the proposed development included a modern, conveniently-located grocery shop and represented a "significant investment" in the village.

He added: "The store will increase the range of goods and widen consumer choice. Significantly, it will increase local job opportunities and assist with expenditure remaining within the local economy.

"The revised scheme is now able to accommodate 14 visitor spaces, a dedicated store delivery bay and an external cash machine."


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