Proposals to turn a Farnborough pub into housing moved a step nearer after a decision an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was not required for the scheme.

Developers have applied to demolish the vacant Ham and Blackbird, in Farnborough Road, and build two residential buildings of 62 flats with a community facility, public open space plazas and new access.

On June 3, Inland Homes applied for planning permission to Rushmoor Borough Council and asked whether an (EIA) would be required. An EIA is a formal process to predict the effect a development will have on the environment.

The council has ruled the assessment will not be needed.

Inland Homes expressed an interest in the Ham and Blackbird site in February and its plans were revealed at a public exhibition.

However, the proposals sparked controversy as the developer felled large trees from the site without permission in place for the flats.

The council’s planning policy states the authority will not permit developments which would adversely affect trees worthy of retention, particularly those subject to tree preservation orders. The pub was still open and running while potential plans were formed, however it closed on March 27 and has been vacant since.

If the plans are approved, one of the blocks would be five-storeys high and provide 10 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom flats, and the other would be six-storeys tall and comprise 15 one-bedroom and 25 two-bedroom flats.

The site would also contain 69 car and 64 cycle spaces. More than 20 objections have been submitted to the council.

One resident said on the council’s website: “This development will add to an already heavily congested area at peak traffic times. With more than 60 properties, it is likely there will be between 80 and 100 cars. There is not enough parking in an area where parking is almost impossible.

"The development will obscure views from Chapter House and potentially cause privacy issues where people will be able to look directly into existing properties. This will most likely cause a loss of light for residents of Chapter House.”

Paul Cowper, chairman of the Surrey & Hants Borders branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said he was disappointed and ‘totally opposed’ the development.

A decision on the plans is due by September 2.