VILLAGERS are up in arms over plans to site gypsy caravans close to a nature conservation area in a Hampshire community.

More than 150 furious residents packed into Ampfield Village Hall to voice their concerns about plans for the site near a well-known hotel.

Now residents have just a couple of days left to make their voices heard to Test Valley Borough Council, with the consultation closing on Tuesday.

Romsey MP Caroline Nokes and county and North Baddesley councillor Alan Dowden were at the parish council meeting to hear locals’ views on the controversial proposal for land opposite the Potters Heron Hotel in Winchester Road.

Applicant Anthony Ward wants to use the land to site caravans for residential use, including a single gypsy pitch and a utility-dayroom.

The parish council says the proposed site is outside the Ampfield settlement boundary – which residents say is contrary to the draft Revised Local Plan.

Mark Sennit, who lives in Knapp Lane, said: “My concerns are that the proposals for the gypsy pitch are misguided.

“The site is located within the countryside and in a prominent location outside the settlement boundary of Ampfield.

“As such it will be visually intrusive and out of character with the area, which is currently typified by open fields.

“To provide hard surfacing and a building will create an alien and unacceptable form of development in the area.”

Another resident, Nick Warren, who was involved in drawing up Ampfield’s village design statement, said: “It seems to me that this development would be contrary to the plan and indeed the wider borough plan.”

Querying the need for the gypsy site, he added: “These green spaces matter and if we lose them piece by piece, whether it is a camp site or a dwelling, once they are gone they are gone.”

So far, borough council chiefs have received about 60 objections to the plans via the authority’s online comments.

Deputy leader and TVBC’s planning spokesman Martin Hatley said that the application would be considered on its own merits.

A decision will not be made until mid-May at the earliest.