TENSIONS between drivers and residents could be eased if plans for a multimillion-pound "nature-based campus" in Romsey are approved, a charity has claimed.

An application was submitted to Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) to knock down the old aquatic centre, Romsey World of Water in Greatbridge Road.

In its place would feature a cafe, visitors’ centre and a place to view birds on the Fishlake Meadows Nature Reserve - next to the development - which could create 150 jobs.

If approved, the £10m scheme, submitted by Azure One Limited, would offer retail space, flexible community space, and offices.

The Romsey & District Society believes conflict between residents and motorists can flare up when people are eager to catch a glimpse of rare birds in the nature reserve, but park on residential roads.

In a document to TVBC, the charity believes the 173 parking bays on the new site could reduce rows over limited spaces.

It reads: "The availability of more parking space will reduce local on-street parking in residential roads, which has caused conflict with local residents when rare bird species and starling murmurations have been reported in the nature reserve."

The charity added the project could be a positive example of eco-friendly building in the area that "would compliment and enhance the nature reserve".

This comes after it project lead at ep projects, Gary Wilburn, revealed work on the site could begin in September if TVBC give the plans the nod.

He told the Advertiser: "All parties continue to pursue the original vision of delivering an equal opportunity access to Fishlake Meadows and the lower Test Valley for current and future generations.

"We hope to secure permission very soon and start work on site in September this year."

Before this, Mr Wilburn said the “nature-based campus” could generate 150 jobs, “provide a £10m green infrastructure investment” and would give better access to the nature reserve.

He said Azure One Limited has been working with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) to “ensure the development improves the area for wildlife and offers opportunities for those working or visiting to enjoy and connect with nature”.

Chief Executive of HIWWT, Debbie Tann, also told the Advertiser: “This disused site sits next to our nature reserve, Fishlake Meadows – a wonderful wildlife haven on the edge of Romsey.

“There is a real opportunity to bring nature to the fore here and we are happy to be working with the team to help ensure that the development is sensitive to the special wildlife of our nature reserve, and delivers genuine benefits for both wildlife and local people.”