PLANS to use a garden for a riverside cafe seating area have sparked concerns from residents over privacy and overlooking.

The application for 16 Salisbury Street, which was discussed by Fordingbridge Town Council’s planning committee last week, is seeking use of the outside area - from a residential garden to cafe seating area. The plans also include two single-storey outbuildings and demolition of an existing one, decking and fencing, as well as an alteration to a pedestrian right of way.

The application was previously discussed last month but councillors said more information was needed.

Planning committee chair Councillor Diane Paton said there had been amendments to the plans and that privacy had been addressed “as far as the applicant can”.

She said one of the outbuildings would only be used for “low key” food preparation.There would also be lattice fencing with planting along the boundary and the decking to help with “shielding”.

However, during the meeting concerns were raised by residents over privacy and visual intrusion still not being addressed.

There were also concerns over increased noise, the use of a passageway for public access and the impact of planting laurels.

One resident said there was still a “direct line of sight” into her property and garden and the noise created would be “far beyond any current noise levels”.

She also raised concerns over the decking and its height.

Applicant Peter Cheal said it was only a small amount above what the original land was. He also said the resident’s garden was “well down low” to the pathway and it was a lower area.

Mr Cheal also told the meeting the seating area would be open during summer time for daytime use and not in the evening.

Another resident questioned whether it was needed as there was already other outdoor cafe areas and also felt the plans showed “no respect for people’s privacy”.

“We are trying to enhance Fordingbridge by having the resource that we have there and bring it into the town for the town’s benefit,” added Mr Cheal, who said the plans would also bring employment opportunities to the town.

Councillor Paul Anstey said there were still “great unknowns” over the sights and smells and other issues unresolved, as well as there being questions over whether the garden location was residential or commercial land.

The planning committee voted to recommend refusal.

New Forest District Council as the planning authority will make the final decision on the application.

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