A developer is appealing planners' refusal of 47 retirement flats at the gateway to Romsey.

Churchill Retirement Living's scheme for the former Edwina Mountbatten House care home was unanimously refused by Test Valley Borough Council's southern area planning committee. 

The proposal drew criticism from residents and councillors over its size, bulk and impact on surrounding properties.

In the council's reasons for refusal, it said: “By virtue of the scale, bulk and design of the proposal the development would be detrimental to the special architectural and historic importance of the setting of the Romsey Conservation Area and the setting of heritage assets.

"This harm is compounded further when the proposal is viewed from the roundabout junction of the A27 and Palmerston Street.

"It is acknowledged that the development would result in less than substantial harm to the significance of these designated heritage assets and the conservation area.

"However, the public benefits arising from the development would not outweigh this real and identified harm.

“The proposed development by means of its nature, location and scale could have likely significant effects upon the nearby Solent and Southampton Water European Designated Site which is designated for its conservation importance.”

An appeal was lodged on April 15. In the statement of case, it said: “The appellant’s case clearly sets out that the appeal site is located in a sustainable location in Romsey, within reasonable walking distance of key local services and facilities, is in accordance with the Local Plan for new development, and will deliver significant and tangible benefits to the new and existing community.

“The site is in a highly accessible location, making it suitable for older persons housing. 

“The location of the development will make a positive and sustainable contribution to the local economy in terms of placing development where it is needed in an accessible location ensuring there is no undue reliance on use of the private car for future occupants.”

The developer has also submitted an application for costs. 

The planning application received 13 objections and one supporting comment. The planning committees of Romsey Town Council and Romsey and District Society had both objected. 

Speaking at the meeting in March, Colin Burgess, from the town council, said: “The proposals are completely unacceptable. The design looks like an enormous lump and is unsympathetic to the surrounding buildings. 

“The residents in the nearby cottages already suffer from traffic pollution, which will get worse. The applicant has failed to address the problems.”