PLANS to build five houses near Romsey have been given the go-ahead after a debate erupted over the "small gardens".

An application was submitted to Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) to construct a mix of three and four-bedroom homes in East View, Saunders Lane, Awbridge.

The plans, submitted by Doswell Projects Ltd, were approved by six votes to four at TVBC's Southern Area Planning Committee on Tuesday (April 6).

However, some leaders were concerned the gardens were too small, believing coronavirus has proven how important outdoor space is for residents.

Conservative Tony Ward criticised the plans for the lack of private space proposed in the designs.

He said: "This is an opportunity to provide what we have learnt during coronavirus that people love outdoor, private space and there doesn't seem to be a lot of that.

"I am not convinced this is the right design for that plot."

He added the area seemed overdeveloped and explained: "If I was to categorise it, I would say it's overdeveloped by one house. How on Earth they thought they would get seven in there I don't know?

"I'm sure if they took one out they could give residents a much better quality of time."

Conservative Gordon Bailey agreed with Mr Ward and believed the developer was trying to squeeze too many houses into the area.

He said: "I think councillor Ward has really hit the whole thing on the head. What we have got here is a typical development with the developer trying to fit as many houses as they can into the area.

"As you would have noticed, the central house along the back does not have a garage and I assume that cars will just park outside alongside the house.

"But again, they have got very small gardens... and it's not a very good development."

However, Liberal Democrat Alan Dowden disagreed and argued not everyone wants a large garden as part of their property.

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He said: "Not everybody wants a large garden... we are all so different and the needs of people are different.

"It could be someone older who wants to live there and they don't want a large garden.

"Personally, I can't see anything wrong with it."