PLANS to turn a former Romsey hotel into flats and a kitchen showroom have come under fire.

A planning application was submitted to Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) to create two flats and a maisonette spanning across the first and second floor of the Abbey Hotel, Church Street.

The plans, submitted by property investor Brightbeech Property Limited, would see the ground floor of the property occupied by the kitchen company, Kutchenhaus, while a two-bedroom house would be built at the back of the site.

Now Romsey Town Council (RTC) has slammed the plans claiming there is still a need for tourist accommodation in the market town.

Critics of the controversial application objected to the lack of car parking spaces planned for the site and the impact the plans could have on the historic part of town.

A document submitted to TVBC reads: “The Abbey Hotel has been a part of Romsey’s social hub and its loss would be sorely missed.

“The tourism strategy developed by Romsey Future indicates a need for further hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation in Romsey, especially in the historic area next to King John’s House and opposite the Abbey.

“A loss of tourism accommodation requires proof it is no longer economically viable and no such evidence is proved.”

They added the plans are “inadequate” for parking and claimed the applicant should consider “the impact this proposed development will have on the local heritage”, since it is located next to “a Grade I listed building” - King John’s House.

This comes after residents hit out at the plans to change the former hotel over fears the market town will become overdeveloped.

Susan Wood, who lives in New Road, said: “This application is just greed on the behalf of the developers with no consideration as to the best possible use of the hotel or the needs of the town.

“Romsey has more than enough shops already and there are enough properties with many housing estates just being built.”

Elizabeth Hollloway, who lives in Cherville Street, said: “I think this is overdevelopment of this site; a local amenity will be lost and the accommodation proposed will not address the housing need in the town centre.

“As an ex-Romsey retailer, I am anxious about the future of our town following the current crisis.

“We need businesses to survive, attract visitors to our town, be they day trippers or people to stay for a few days as well as provide for our residents.”

Director of Brightbeech Property Limited, Tim Lincoln, said the Abbey Hotel was “unfortunately allowed to fall into disrepair by its previous owners”.

He added:“Once the works are completed Kutchenhaus will relocate to the property which will provide room for their successful business to expand further.”

TVBC are due to decide on the plans on June 11.