More than 100 residents have had their say on a multimillion-pound "nature-based campus" in Romsey, which could create 150 jobs.

An application was submitted to Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) to knock down the old aquatic centre, Romsey World of Water in Greatbridge Road, and transform it into a site that would feature a cafe, visitors’ centre and a place to view birds on the Fishlake Meadows Nature Reserve - next to the development.

If approved, the £10m scheme would boast 226 car parking spaces, including ten disabled spaces, as well as retail space, flexible community space and offices.

The site was occupied by Southern Aquatics & Pets until June 30 after Romsey World of Water went bust in January.

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Now, residents have revealed their support for the plans after attending two sessions at the Town Hall, Market Place, on Friday and Saturday.

Jane Gooden, who lives in Braishfield, said: "I fundamentally want this to be a nature reserve, so we can go for a walk and enjoy seeing the birds [in Fishlake Meadows], rather than potentially having children on swings in the vegetable growing area, because everywhere seems to have play areas now.

"The key thing is this will be another way to access the nature reserve and it is not a place where children will be racing up and down the boardwalk."

A Romsey woman said: "I came here to have a closer look at the plans, because I live nearby and I have walked around there a lot, particularly during lockdown, so I want to make sure the area doesn't become overdeveloped.

"If the buildings are wooden like they are in the photos then I'm sure it will look lovely and it would be a really positive investment for the town."

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Another resident from Totton said: "I have been a member of the Hampshire Wildlife Trust for 30 years and I learnt about this through an email, which is what prompted me to come to here.

"I think it is a lovely idea and I am a keen bird watcher, so this is right up my street."

Lead consultant and director of HPW Architecture Ltd, Gary Wilburn, said: “We were delighted to welcome 148 attendees at Friday and Saturday's public consultation at the town hall.

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"Their response over the two days was resoundingly positive with helpful, relevant suggestions that will inform and enhance the scheme to the benefit of the people of Romsey."

As reported, the 57-year-old said the applicant, Azure One Limited, was "keen to show" what the proposed development will look like if the plans are given the green light by planning chiefs on Monday, November 16.

He added the “nature-based campus” could generate “150 jobs”, “provides a £10m green infrastructure investment” and would give better access to the nature reserve.

Azure One Limited has also been working with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) to “ensure the development improves the area for wildlife and offers opportunities for those working or visiting to enjoy and connect with nature”, according to Gary.

Chief Executive of HIWWT, Debbie Tann, said: “This disused site sits next to our nature reserve, Fishlake Meadows – a wonderful wildlife haven on the edge of Romsey.

“There is a real opportunity to bring nature to the fore here and we are happy to be working with the team to help ensure that the development is sensitive to the special wildlife of our nature reserve, and delivers genuine benefits for both wildlife and local people.”