CONTROVERSIAL plans for almost 150 homes on the edge of a Hampshire town are set to receive the go-ahead.

District councillors are being urged to approve proposals to build a new estate beside a disused railway line that marks the northern boundary of Fordingbridge.

If planning permission is granted the 145 properties will be built on rural land off Whitsbury Road.

Objections have been lodged by Fordingbridge Town Council and Whitsbury Parish Council, which say the “cramped, urban development” will generate too much traffic as well as placing extra strain on schools and medical facilities in the area.

The district council’s own tree officer has also criticised the proposal, saying it threatens important mature trees covered by a preservation order.

Locals have sent the authority almost 40 letters of objection, many of which claim the scheme amounts to over-development and would lead to a major increase in traffic.

At least one of the letters says a large expansion of the town would harm its semi-rural character.

But the application is likely to be approved by the council’s planning and development control committee at a meeting on Wednesday.

A report to members says the authority’s urban design officer has raised concerns about the central square, claiming the applicants have failed to create well-designed and pedestrian-friendly area.

But the report says other aspects of the proposed development are satisfactory.

“Overall the application constitutes a significant residential development on the edge of Fordingbridge that would be broadly consistent with policy requirements,” it says.

The applicants, Highwood Homes and Pennyfarthing Homes, have said the houses would have no adverse impact on roads. They added that the scheme would make a valuable contribution to housing in the Forest.