RESIDENTS in a new retirement development have handed in a petition to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in protest against plans to build a multi-storey car park next to their homes.

As previously reported by The Gazette, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been working with specialist consultants Urban Initiatives Studio on plans to transform the Top of The Town area.

The proposals include introducing two-way traffic in New Road and building a 470-space multi-storey car park in Southern Road.

But residents from all 34 apartments at Emma Court, in Southern Road, including Margaret Ness, 68, and her 71-year-old husband Alistair, have submitted a petition to the borough council opposing the plans.

The grandmother-of-seven said that if the proposals go ahead, the car park will be out of character with the area, and suggested that Central car park in Red Lion Lane would be a better location.

The petition says: “A multi-storey car park built adjacent to a brand new apartment complex designated for the elderly, who very carefully considered a move for a happy and peaceful retirement, is not appropriate.

“The noise, unsightliness, lighting and increased pollution is certainly not what we all look forward to and indeed strongly object to.”

It adds: “The site of Emma and Lady Susan Courts has pleasantly landscaped gardens to sit on and enjoy which will be totally ruined by the site of a large imposing structure.”

Councillor Terri Reid, borough cabinet member for housing and regeneration, said: “The aim of the town centre vision is to make the Top of The Town a vibrant destination with a mix of shops, cafes and activities in attractive historic streets. This is not a planning application or even a formal proposal at this stage, but one of the ideas we are considering.

“We are aware of some design and location concerns that residents have, and I would like to reassure them that these issues would be carefully considered in putting together any more formal proposals and plans, to ensure that they complement the town’s historic character.”