HE is the TV chef who certainly likes a challenge.

Millions have watched Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall trying to get the European Union to change its fishing policies, taking on the supermarkets over factory farmed chicken – and even tucking into roadkill and a pate made of human placenta.

But the man behind River Cottage may have taken on his greatest test yet – opening a restaurant and deli in a quiet residential street in Hampshire.

Neighbours are already lining up to protest against the plan for historic Abbey Mill in Winchester.

They have spoken out about fears of noise pollution and traffic congestion after about 50 people were invited to a meeting at the city’s Guildhall to hear how the former mill in Colebrook Street would be converted into a River C o t t a g e Canteen and Deli.

Katie Warnes, of Colebrook Street, said: “I think it’s fair to say we are all fairly horrified. It would be slap bang in the middle of a residential street.

“It’s difficult enough to get down this road as it is but with the extra cars it will be impossible and block off emergency access.”

Guy Ashton, also of Colebrook Street, said: “There are two sensible outcomes here. Either the council decides a restaurant in Colebrook Street is not an appropriate place, or they say it is and River Cottage is a great tenant but there are a number of controls over things like the number of deliveries and customers, the times of deliveries, opening hours, outdoor seating, smells, rubbish and noise.”

But there is local support for the plan.

John Holder, who runs Wolvesey View bed and breakfast in Colebrook Place, said: “I think it is excellent. It will be a wonderful asset for Winchester.

“I am in favour but they will have to do something about traffic. Perhaps they could treat Colebrook Street like College Street, with a barrier to stop through traffic.”

A planning application for a change of use will be made “imminently” by the city council, said a spokeswoman.

River Cottage was asked for a comment but failed to respond.