CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a Lidl depot which could secure 400 jobs for Southampton have been approved by Test Valley Borough Council.

After nearly two-and-a-half hours of debate, councillors gave the green light to the cutprice chain’s plans to build a distribution centre next to the M271 near Nursling.

The new facility, on a greenfield site south of Brownhill Way, near Adanac Park, will serve an area from Poole to Newbury and across to Brighton.

Councillors raised their fears about tenants living in six homes on the site which would be demolished to make way for the 24-hour centre. Cllr Tony Ward said: “Why can we legally object for the bats and newts etc living in the hedgerow and not the nine human beings living in properties.

“I’m very disappointed to learn that human beings are not protected.”

Tenant Jacqueline Keir pleaded for councillors to refuse application and said that Barker-Mill Estates, which owns the site, had not provided any assurances of finding alternative accommodation.

Stuart Irvine, of Barker-Mill, denied this saying that a letter had been sent out to occupants in 2011 saying they would provide them with houses if planning approval was given.