DEVELOPERS have lodged an appeal after being refused consent to build a “prison-like” block of flats in a Hampshire village.

An application to replace the former police station at Jones Lane, Hythe, with 35 retirement apartments was rejected last year after sparking 76 letters of objection.

McCarthy & Stone’s application to redevelop the site was rejected by the district council's planning committee.

Cllr Allan Glass told fellow members: “The old police station is ugly and in my opinion the proposed development looks like a really ugly prison.”

Cllr Ann Sevier added: “It looks rather like an industrial unit, not somewhere you would want to go and live.”

The multi-million-pound scheme also came under fire from one of the objectors, Martin Cox, who told the committee: “This development would sit very nicely in a town – but does not sit nicely in the charming village of Hythe.”

Now McCarthy and Stone is challenging the council’s decision.

New Forest Post:

Regional managing director Shane Paull said: “We believe our proposals present the opportunity to sensitively redevelop this brownfield site with specialist retirement accommodation.

“These plans will not only improve choice for the local community but will also help to free up homes for families and first-time buyers further along the housing chain.”

The New Forest is home to a large number of retired people and the number is expected to rise sharply as the UK’s population ages.

Mr Paull said: “The district council currently has a growing need for retirement accommodation, and it is anticipated there will be a need for a further 2,100 sheltered accommodation dwellings up to 2036.

“Communities must meet the needs of older people. We believe that by refusing the application the council is not addressing these needs.”

New Forest Post:

The scheme was rejected in July last year.

Councillors said the application 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.

Some of the objectors claimed Hythe was already “inundated” with retirement apartments.

But the application said the scheme was an appropriate use for an under-utilised site which had been blighted by vandalism and anti-social behaviour since the police station closed in 2017.

The appeal will be heard by a government-appointed planning inspector on a date to be fixed.