PLANS to build more than 60 homes on a greenfield site in a Hampshire town have been given the go-ahead.

Metis Homes has received planning permission to redevelop land at Burgate Acres, Fordingbridge, despite concerns about the scheme's potential impact on Grade II-listed buildings.

A report to members of New Forest District Council confirmed that the homes would "dramatically alter" the area's appearance.

Cllr Maureen Holding voiced similar views when the application was debated at a meeting of the authority's planning committee.

She said: "I do think, from a conservation point of view, we have ruined the setting of those wonderful thatched buildings."

Cllr Holding warned that "beautiful, quintessential" areas were rapidly disappearing because the government was forcing local authorities to allocate large areas of land for housing.

But Cllr Arthur Davies said: "I think it's as good as we are going to get."

An initial application to build 74 properties on the site sparked more than 50 objections. However, the report said the latest scheme, which comprised 63 homes, had sparked only five protests.

The report praised "significant" alterations to the layout of the proposed development.

These included a reduction in the number of homes near Fordingbridge Day Nursery, an increase in the amount of public space and improvements in the layout and design.

The report added that objections to the previous proposal had been overcome sufficiently to enable council officers to recommend approval.

It added: "Issues remain regarding the impact of phosphates and the adverse impact on European protected sites and species, but it is anticipated that these can be resolved over the next few months.

"The proposal, as amended, is now considered to be generally in line with Local Plan policy and national guidance.

"It creates an attractive scheme, releasing much-needed housing including affordable housing, and other public benefits."

Metis Homes staged a public consultation in the summer of 2019.

Speaking at the time Adam O'Brien, the company's managing director, said: "We believe our proposals will sympathetically deliver much-needed new homes, including family housing and smaller homes, on a site which has been earmarked for development by the council."

Fordingbridge town councillors met last month and agreed to support the latest proposals.

Cllr Paul Anstey said the scheme had undergone a “considerable" number of amendments, including a reduction in the number of houses, since the first application was submitted in February last year.

The site includes land sold to Metis Homes by The Burgate School, which occupies neighbouring land.