A DEPARTMENT store’s scheme to expand its shop in Romsey has run into opposition.

Bradbeers announced last autumn plans to knock down Stares former butchery and the Oxfam Bookshop and extend its department store by 13,000 sq ft along Cornmarket.

Managing director Greg Davies said the split-level replacement buildings for the old butchery and the bookshop would be two-storey rising to three.

He said the proposals were a “significant investment” in the town and would bring 30 permanent jobs.

Mr Davies said: “Romsey and District Society which has over 600 members, were supportive of the design which has traditional features, such as a slate pitched roof and a stonework facade in the Cornmarket to mirror the former Dolphin Hotel.

“Stares and Oxfam buildings have no historic merit.

“What we are proposing is investing in a building, designed by Romsey architect Neill Beasley, to enhance the Cornmarket.”

However, town councillors fear the demolition plans will destroy an important visual link with the old Dolphin Hotel – now Bradbeers restaurant and part of the department store complex.

“The demolition of the present structure and its replacement by a modern structure is entirely out of keeping with the Romsey Conservation Area,” said the town council in its comments to Test Valley planners.

Continuing its attack on the proposed replacements, the council adds: “The plain, austere appearance detracts from the fine detailing in the Dolphin Hotel facade, and dominates and overwhelms the character of the Tudor Rose.”

The comments come as part of the town council’s views on the scheme which will be decided by Test Valley borough planners at a later date.