A DECISION over whether stables can be used for a horse carriage hire company went down to a photo finish.

The applicant, Terry Jewer, lost by a single vote at the planning committee meeting at Winchester Guildhall.

Opinion amongst nearby residents Little Stocks Stables in Stocks Lane, Meonstoke,was divided with seven against and ten in favour.

However, ten residents wrote to the council to support the idea, arguing that the firm would benefit the village and would not be an intrusion.

If approved, the proposal would have allowed Mr Jewer to hire out carriages for special events such as weddings.

The carriages were already based on the site, the meeting heard, but Mr Jewer only had permission to use them himself for recreation.

While the views of residents were divided, it emerged that councillors were also split on the subject.

When it came to the vote, four members backed the proposal while five rejected it, and the application was refused.