DEVELOPERS have lodged an appeal after being refused permission to increase the size of a Hampshire housing scheme that was approved last year.

Churchill Retirement Living received consent for 36 flats on land currently occupied by Hythe-based PC Building Supplies, which is planning to move to Hardley Industrial Estate.

Churchill later submitted a proposal for 43 flats on the site in South Street, Hythe.

Last month the £6 million scheme was turned down by New Forest District Council, which criticised the height and design of the building.

But Churchill has submitted an appeal in the hope a government-appointed planning inspector will quash the council’s decision.

Andrew Burgess, the company’s group land and planning director, said: “The scheme will provide much-needed housing for older people in Hythe, enabling them to downsize and free up more family housing for younger people.

“It will also provide high quality, secure, self-contained apartments in landscaped grounds as well as creating jobs and providing benefits to the local economy.

“We believe it will make a valuable contribution to the area.”

Hythe and Dibden Parish Council objected to the application for 43 flats, describing the proposed development as excessive and out of character.

Planning chiefs also received ten letters from locals concerned about the loss of an employment site and the “poor design” of the flats.

One of the South Street residents who objected to the new proposal was Tracy Pittilo, whose letter to the authority said: “The developers are trying to squeeze even more people into a small, overcrowded space which will be vastly over-developed.”

Fellow protester John Elliott added: “The initial planning application was for a two-storey block, which was in keeping with nearly all the surrounding properties.

“The revised application to increase this to three storeys is not.”

In a report presented to the committee, council planning officers said the proposed development would be bigger than the one approved last year.

The report also cited the large number of two-storey buildings in the South Street area and said the three-storey elements of the new scheme would be out of keeping.

It added: “The development as a whole would, quite simply, be too large and imposing.”

But the application cited the UK’s ageing population and said the flats would ease the shortage of purpose-built accommodation for the elderly.

It added: “There would be no negative impacts resulting from the proposed development.”