THE redevelopment of a former city council depot site has been unanimously approved despite road safety concerns from residents.

It comes after a planning committee debated the Winchester City Council proposal to demolish the existing building at the site in Lower Lane, Bishop’s Waltham, and replace it with three new units.

Civic chiefs signed off on the £1million council investment in the site in June last year, but required planning permission before work could get under way.

The depot covers 0.95 acres and is situated in a former quarry. In the past it has been used as a base to store refuse trucks serving local parishes, but the site has remained vacant in recent years.

The plot has previously been considered for a number of development options, including a new fire station and housing, but neither were considered suitable.

The planning application attracted five letters of objection from residents, with Margaret Jefferies and Rosemary Easton, both of Lower Lane, telling the committee of highways fears over increased traffic and lorry movements.

However, the city council has stated its intention for the new units to be used by local businesses to create local jobs. Kevin Warren, corporate head of estates management at the council, said the plans represented a “significant improvement over the current situation”.

Cllr Steve Miller, who had been portfolio holder for estates and led the project before the local elections earlier this month, said the council had received more than 50 enquiries from potential tenants.

There were also calls for the application to be decided on by an independent authority, as Winchester City Council was the applicant, but committee chairman Cllr Therese Evans said they were used to dealing with internal applications.

Debating the plan, Cllr Angela Clear said: “The buildings at this present time are in a very poor condition, so anything that is going to make it look better is an improvement.”

The plans were approved by eight votes to none, with Bishop’s Waltham councillor David McLean removing himself from the committee due to previous comment he has made in support of the scheme.

Speaking last June after councillors approved the investment in the site, Cllr McLean said: “I am delighted that we are developing these new business premises for Bishop’s Waltham, which will provide new jobs and opportunities for our residents.”