PLANS for an indoor equestrian centre in Test Valley have come under from residents who fear it will increase traffic congestion.

A planning application was submitted to Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) to build the arena on land at Oak Tree Farm, Foxes Lane, West Wellow.

The plans, submitted by Blackwater Equestrian, would see seven car parking spaces and six disabled spaces being built on the site.

Critics of the controversial application claim the building will tower over the area and resemble an “industrial estate”.

Others believe it will increase the risk of flooding if given the green light by civic chiefs.

However, one of the owners of Blackwater Equestrian, Mark Hallion, claims the “last thing they want” is for the arena to look like an industrial estate, ensuring residents they will only see a “green roof” to reflect the area.

Julie Cooper, who lives in The Drove, said: “Locals are all aware of how busy and dangerous it has got over the last few years, with some vehicles driving speedily around the bends.

“We have so much traffic using the lane, including vehicles going to the existing covered indoor horse arena at Foxhills Equestrian up the road.

“We are concerned that if this application goes ahead, we will experience more severe flooding in the future.

“The flood water also contributes to the degradation of the road.”

She added: “Foxes Lane has not always been in the sorry state that it is currently, and it’s sad to see it looking so neglected.”

Criticising the size of the building, Philip Stenner, who lives in Buttons Lane, said it would be “massive and more akin to a warehouse on an industrial estate than in a country lane”.

He stressed the indoor equestrian centre would impact traffic congestion in the “narrow single track lane with no passing places”.

“There are already issues with vehicles making deliveries to the existing site on the opposite side of the lane, further expansion opposite is likely to make this worse.

“This winter there have been issues with flooding in Foxes Lane close to this site; if this application goes ahead it is likely to cause more run off into the pond and onto the lane.

“This could potentially flood Hatches Farm on the opposite side of the lane which is lower lying,” Mr Stenner added.

Andrew Clements, who lives in Romsey Road, said: “Foxes Lane is a quiet road used by local residents for walking because of its unspoilt nature.

“The proposed development will make Foxes Lane more akin to an industrial estate completely out of keeping with the distinctive rural character West Wellow.”

He added: “The application makes no mention of the expected number of visitors and the parking provisions.

“Inevitably, parking will spill out onto the verges of Foxes Lane, which is one of the very few lanes left in the county with wide unspoilt verges.

“This should be protected from the damage that parking will cause.”

Defending the plans, Mr Hallion said: “The last thing we want is for it to look like an industrial estate; it will be level and there will be a grass bank around it, so the only thing people will see is a green roof.

“In terms of how much we are going to increase the traffic we won’t at all because we are just going to walk horses across the road. The indoor arena won’t be open for shows, it’s just for us.”

The 56-year-old highlighted part of the plans will address flooding concerns with an “improved drainage system”, where water will “only be released gradually back into the ground”.

“We have also offered to dig out the whole pond and tidy up the area,” Mr Hallion added.

TVBC are due to make a decision on the application on Monday, May 25.