A VENDING machine that cooks pizzas could be installed in Hampshire under new plans submitted by a council.

The authority is applying for planning permission to replace Southsea's D-Day Story museum car park cycle racks, opposite the public toilets, with the equipment for an initial trial period.

The seven metre-squared shipping container-style machine will be operated by West Ashling-based Pizza Rebellion which already runs similar ones in Brighton, Bognor Regis and Chichester, providing ‘handmade craft pizzas’.

"We’re always looking for new ways of providing quality food and drink on the seafront,’ a Portsmouth City Council spokesman said.

"This vending machine is an innovative idea and could be very popular.

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"We’re committed to relocating the bike stands, which are now on the site, to a more convenient level location in another part of the car park.’

Pizzas are made by Pizza Rebellion before being delivered to the refrigerated machines where they can be ordered and cooked automatically in a jet-pulsed oven for less than four minutes.

The company rents the land for their installation while maintaining and stocking them itself.

In its application, the council says the installation of the machine "would not have any discernible impact on the setting" of the surrounding area and said it would "at least preserve, arguably enhance" its character.

The proposed location, close to Clarence Esplanade, is a "well-used thoroughfare and therefore is considered entirely appropriate for the proposed food concession," a statement submitted with the plans says.

"The proposed concession would add to the variety of takeaway food concessions that exist on or close to the Southsea seafront."

Three letters of support have been submitted, including from Claire Wallace who lives in Gisors Road and welcomed the proposal.

"[This is] a relatively local company hand-making fresh pizzas with healthy ingredients, an innovative point-of-sale and in a location that is quickly becoming a focal point of Portsmouth," she said.

But museum volunteer Fergus Cross has objected to the application, warning it would create issues with litter and anti-social behaviour.

"This is also a bad idea when PCC should be promoting healthy eating and a more healthy lifestyle,’ he added. ‘Fast food does none of that and is frankly not needed here."

The council has set a target of May 26 for its planning department reaching a decision.