A NEW retail park will be built on land empty since the 1990s, after councillors approved the proposal.

Plans for the St Michael’s Retail Park, on the site of the former Smiths Industries Aerospace site, in Winchester Road, were given the green light by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s (BDBC) development committee on Wednesday night.

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.

The plan was approved subject to the developer and the borough council agreeing legal conditions.

A number of speakers voiced their concerns about the development at the meeting, including a Harrow Way resident, a representative of the owners of neighbouring Brighton Hill Retail Park and the owner of Jaybees Convenience Store, based in Kings Furlong Centre.

Basingstoke MP Maria Miller had also raised concerns about potential traffic issues caused by the new park.

However, councillors voted in favour of the proposal which would create around 300 jobs, as well as construction roles while the site is being built, and include more than 400 car parking spaces.

BDBC is seeking for Area Estates to part-fund upgrades to the road network near the site.

Work is due to begin on the site in autumn this year, concluding in summer 2018.

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.

For a full report from the meeting, see next Thursday's Gazette.