A DEVELOPER has cut the number of flats it aims to build on a Hampshire site - but the scheme is continuing to spark protests.

Renaissance Retirement staged a public consultation earlier this year in which it floated the idea of building 50 retirement apartments at Stanford Hill in Lymington.

But the Ringwood-based company has revised its initial proposals and has now submitted a planning application to build only 45 flats.

A Renaissance spokesman said: "We've taken on board comments received from neighbours and the (district) council and worked hard to make a series of amendments which we feel help deliver a high quality specialist housing development."

The spokesman said the New Forest needed a further 2,000 homes which were suitable for older residents.

He added: "Our plans for this site would make a helpful contribution towards meeting this need while also improving local housing choice.”

But the application has sparked a number of objections, including one from the Lymington Society.

In a letter to the council the Society says the proposed development would result in the heavily built-up part of the town centre extending westwards.

The letter adds: "The adverse effect of the proposal is emphasised by the bulk, massing and design. In addition it is on rising ground so it adverse effects can not be concealed by any amendments to its design."

The council has also received letters of objection from people living near the site.

Joy Baker, of Buckler's Court, says: "The proposed building is too large and would spoil the attractive approach to the town.

"Traffic along Stanford Hill, especially at weekends, has become a problem and a danger. Creating more traffic will be intolerable."

Fellow protester Barry Clarke, of Belmore Road, attacks the "excessive" density of the proposed development. He adds: "Lymington needs investment in affordable housing, not more retirement flats."

If the scheme is given the go-ahead, four detached homes will be replaced by 45 flats and 34 parking spaces.

The application says: "The site is ideally situated for retirement living. New development is not uncommon in the local area and developing the site would bring about the best use of the land."

The original plan for 50 flats was the subject of talks between Renaissance and the council.

A council report says a planning officer and the authority's conservation officer had "serious reservations" about the size of the scheme and its potential impact on listed buildings.