PLANS to build three houses next to a church not far from Romsey could be given the green light by planning chiefs.

An application was submitted to Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) to construct the four bedroom houses west of All Saints Church in Church Lane, Awbridge.

If approved, the church would be able to create a car park with 54 spaces and extend their graveyard, giving them a total of "100 spaces" burials.

Now a borough councillor has revealed he believes the "community led-scheme" will mean the church can hold big events without residents having to park on a "narrow lane" nearby.

Cllr Nick Adams-King, who represents Blackwater on the borough council, said: "I think it is a good scheme because it provides three benefits to the village.

"The first is the parking, because when there is a big event at the church the cars have to park on Church Lane, which is narrow.

"This community-led scheme would give them more off-street parking and it would also provide the church with a community garden."

He added the plans would see the graveyard extended to help cater for residents who "wish to be buried there".

The applicant and one of the wardens for All Saints Church, Fred Tucker, said: "I have been working for six years to try and find a solution to the parking problem, because when we hold bigger events, such as weddings or funerals, the cars have to park in the lane next to the church and they can go on for 30 metres down the road.

"It is a long-standing problem and if we get planning permission for the three houses we can provide ourselves with a car park and have a community garden where people can sit in - at no cost to the church."

The 73-year-old added: "We have also got about 20 spaces left in the graveyard and, although we don't have a lot of burials a year, if we don't provide that extra space unfortunately people are likely to be buried in the Romsey cemetery.

"This is not ideal because many people have chosen to be buried near their families, but if we have the extension we will have 100 spaces in total."

TVBC are due to decide on the plans on Friday, August 28.