PLANS to bulldoze a former police station and replace it with 35 retirement flats have been rejected after the scheme was met with more than 70 objections.

McCarthy & Stone had sparked anger by submitting a multimillion-pound proposal to redevelop the old Hythe police station site in Jones Lane.

Critics claimed the Hythe area was already “inundated” with retirement properties and was in danger of becoming “another Eastbourne”.

The scheme for a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments was thrown out at a meeting of New Forest District Council’s planning committee.

Members said the scheme amounted to an overdevelopment of the site. They also attacked the building’s “poor design”, adding that three and four-storey complex would be much bigger than its neighbours.

The committee’s decision was welcomed by members of Hythe and Dibden Parish Council, which had objected to the application.

Writing on social media after the meeting Cllr Alex Wade said: “The site would be better used for affordable and family housing with suitable parking and not built to dominate the skyline.”

One of the 76 people who sent letters of objection to the district council was Waterside resident Jodie Cooke

She said: “Hythe needs to be brought into the 21st century.

“How about affordable housing for young people or a chain store such as New Look so that anyone under 60 actually has a place to shop in Hythe.”

Other objectors stated their view that the scheme would increase the pressure on the local health services.

Wendy Nutland, of Crete Road, Dibden Purlieu, said: “What provision has been made for increased demand on doctors and other medical services?

“It’s already near impossible to get an appointment with the district nurses and you have to wait ages for an appointment with the doctor.”

But the applicants claimed the scheme was an appropriate use for an under-utilised site that had blighted by vandalism and anti-social behaviour since the police station closed last year.

It added that by 2033, 34 per cent of the district’s population would be aged over 65.

Speaking earlier this year Shane Paull, McCarthy & Stone’s regional managing director, said: “Our proposals will help meet a growing need for specialist accommodation for older people.

“We plan to deliver a sensitive residential development in a highly sustainable location.”

Following the committee’s decision the company could either lodge an appeal or submit a revised scheme.