PLANS to turn a former Romsey hotel into flats have been given the green light this week.

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, will now see a two-bedroom house built at the back of the site, with zero car parking spaces.

The kitchen company, Kutchenhaus, could relocate into the ground floor of the property however, TVBC has stressed this move is not officially "part of the current application", but is being done under "development rights".

Now, the proposals have been given the go-ahead by community leaders at the Southern Area Planning Committee on Tuesday.

This comes after the proposal was deferred on August 25 after councillors contested the application over a lack of parking on the site, a loss of tourist accommodation in the town and the conservation area could be negatively impacted.

At this week's meeting, two councillors stressed they would be voting in favour of the plans, despite expressing previous concerns over the former hotel.

However, director of Brightbeech Property Limited and applicant, Tim Lincoln, admitted "it's sad" the Abbey Hotel will not provide accommodation for guests, but insisted it is not "viable" as a hospitality business anymore.

Cllr John Parker, who represents Romsey Tadburn on TVBC, said: "At the last meeting I expressed concerns about the loss of hotel accommodation, the parking and the fact that there was uncertainty about what was happening to the rest of the site, and what impact that would have both on the conservation area and the setting of King John's House.

"I welcome the newly revised report from the officers and I accept, reluctantly, that it has been demonstrated that hotel accommodation on that site is not viable and hopefully we can relieve the pressure for hotel accommodation on other sites in the future."

He added he was "disappointed" about the lack of parking, but added people who want to live in the properties should realise "there is no parking" in the area and they will not be able to "get parking permits".

Cllr Alan Dowden, who represents the Valley Park ward, added he still had "real concerns about the parking", but noted there were "no highway objections" over this issue.

Cllr Dowden concluded he would have to "reluctantly go along with the recommendation for permission".

Mr Lincoln, said: "It's sad the [Abbey Hotel] is being lost, but it isn't viable and that has been demonstrated by what The White Horse Hotel tried to do with the building for some six years. "So we have a choice, we can dwell on what has happened in the past or we can welcome new occupiers to empty properties."

He added he could "not really comment" on the parking issue but highlighted Hampshire County Council advised them parking would not be "needed for this development".