THE fate of a plan for a new retail park on land empty since the 1990s is set to be decided tonight.

Plans for the St Michael’s Retail Park, on the site of the former Smiths Industries Aerospace site, in Winchester Road, will go before Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s (BDBC) development committee.

Area Estates, the developer behind the application, has said it has already signed up the likes of Aldi, Nandos, Costa Coffee, Oak Furniture Land and Furniture Village to some of the 11 units proposed for the site, sandwiched between the Brighton Hill Retail Park and B&Q.

A total of 15 letters of objection have been received by the council with eight letters in support. Ward councillor Stephen Day is supporting the application, however, Basingstoke’s MP Maria Miller has objected to the proposal.

In a report on the plan, Mrs Miller’s objections are summarised as: “Welcome in principle any development which will generate new jobs however will result in considerable increase in traffic on existing congested highway network.”

Mrs Miller called for the application to be refused until a plan is in place to deal with any increased traffic on Brighton Hill roundabout, adding: “[There is an] additional burden of increased traffic on Brighton Hill Roundabout [and it is] unacceptable to allow development without proper planning to accommodate increased traffic on Brighton Hill roundabout. [The] application should be refused until technical solution has been identified and funding secured to implement.”

BDBC is seeking for Area Estates to part-fund upgrades to the road network near the site and planning officers recommended councillors approve the plan, with a series of conditions.

The developer estimates the park would create around 300 jobs, as well as construction roles while the site is being built, and include more than 400 car parking spaces.

Tesco has previously had planning permission refused to build a 63,000 sq ft store on the site and announced in 2015 it had shelved plans and was set to sell the site.

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Also to be decided at the meeting is a proposal to build 60 homes and a new railway station car park in Evingar Road, Whitchurch.