PLANS to turn a former Romsey hotel into flats and a kitchen showroom have been delayed.

A planning application was submitted to Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) to create two flats and a maisonette spanning across the first and second floor of the Abbey Hotel, Church Street.

The plans, submitted by property investor Brightbeech Property Limited, would see the ground floor of the property occupied by the kitchen company, Kutchenhaus, while a two-bedroom house would be built at the back of the site.

Now it has been revealed the plans have been delayed after they were meant to be decided on by Thursday, June 11.

READ: Abbey Hotel could have been revamped into a Premier Inn >>>

It is thought the delay has been caused by nitrogen pollution in the Solent, which has caused a backlog in planning applications.

It was revealed nitrogen from housing wastewater and agricultural sources accelerated the growth of algae, which is believed to be damaging protected wildlife habitats and bird species around the straight that separates the Isle of Wight and England.

Now, one community leader has expressed her thoughts on the plans for the Abbey Hotel.

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "I think it is an application that is not helping the Romsey economy, because we had an opportunity to encourage tourists to come to our town and have somewhere else to stay.

"Now, the developers may be the only ones who benefit from this plan and they are doing little for the good of Romsey.

"What they are doing is taking a kitchen shop out of one building and putting it in another when the Abbey Hotel could be made into an absolutely lovely establishment for people to come and stay in."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Dorothy Baverstock Cllr Dorothy Baverstock

She added: "It could have been into a central piece on Church Street."

This comes after residents slammed plans for the former hotel over fears the market town will become overdeveloped.

READ: Plans to turn Abbey Hotel into flats come under fire from Romsey council >>>

Critics of the controversial application also objected to the lack of car parking spaces planned for the site, claiming it is "flawed" to believe residents will not want to park next their properties.

However, the investor defended their plans for the Abbey Hotel, stating the refurbishment will help bring the building back to life after "it was allowed to fall into disrepair by its previous owners".

Susan Wood, who lives in New Road, said: "This application is just greed on the behalf of the developers with no consideration as to the best possible use of the hotel or the needs of the town.

"Romsey has more than enough shops already and there are enough properties with many housing estates just being built."

Elizabeth Hollloway, who lives in Cherville Street, said: "I think this is overdevelopment of this site; a local amenity will be lost and the accommodation proposed will not address the housing need in the town centre."

Romsey Advertiser: The Abbey HotelThe Abbey Hotel

Fay Fleming, who lives in The Crescent, said: "The argument that, because these flats are in the centre of town, there is no need for car parking spaces, is clearly flawed.

"Nearby developments such as Mottisfont Lodge, Abbey Lodge and Hillier Court have acknowledged this and provided their residents with parking."

READ: Romsey residents slam plans to turn Abbey Hotel into flats and kitchen unit >>>

Director of Brightbeech Property Limited, Tim Lincoln, previously told the Advertiser the Abbey pub had "unfortunately been allowed to fall into disrepair by its previous owners".

He added the proposed works to the ground floor of the property "will result in this current dead retail frontage being bought back to life".

TVBC has been contacted for comment.

The Abbey Hotel was sold to The Brightbeech Group, after being on the market since July 2019.

The pub was also set to reopen in 2015 under the management of Paul and Sarah Bingham who managed The White Horse in the Market Place.