SAINSBURY’S looks set to open their third Andover store after controversial plans were narrowly voted through by councillors.

But the proposals, which relate to the former Haydon Cars site on Salisbury Road, only just scraped past Test Valley Borough Council’s Northern Area Planning Committee on a chairman’s vote after councillors were divided over whether or not to rubber stamp the plans.

Half of the 16 attending councillors accepted the proposals for the new mini-retail park, which were put before planners.

The remaining eight councillors, including the three Millway ward members, offered their strong vocal opposition on behalf of neighbouring residents.

But the split decision meant the casting vote fell to committee chairman, Broughton and Stockbridge councillor Daniel Busk, who controversially gave the thumbs up to the plans – much to the disappointment of the crowd of neighbouring residents.

One of those in attendance was Andover town councillor, and Millway Road resident, Christopher Ecclestone.

He said: “I was surprised it got through but not surprised that the three TVBC ward councillors all opposed the development.

“Other councillors from Andover and the countryside blatantly ignored the wishes of the relevant councillors and voted it through.

“I was also disappointed that the council officers could not answer a lot of the questions put forward by the councillors and I think the application should have been deferred.”

Asked if he felt the views of residents had been ignored, he replied: “Yes, absolutely. I spoke to some of the residents after the chairman had made his decision and they were furious.

“This will make a difference for them because of the amount of activity that will be going on at all times now.”

As previously reported in the the proposals, submitted by Richendale Limited, will result in the current Haydon Cars building being demolished in place of a new mini-retail park.

The site will contain a convenience store, which will be rented by Sainsbury’s, and two hot food takeaways. The supermarket giant confirmed it will open a Sainsbury’s Local store, creating between 20 and 25 new jobs.

Plans, which are similar to an accepted but unused application in 2013, include for two car parking sites, containing a combined 17 parking spaces.

Sainsbury has spoken in more detail about their plans for leasing the new retail unit.

A spokesperson said: “The new convenience store will bring forward a number of benefits for the local area including the creation of 20 to 25 new jobs, which we would seek to fill, where possible, from the local area.

"We hope to be able to open the store towards the end of 2017."