WINCHESTER City Council has rejected plans to build 71 homes on a school field.

A planning committee turned down Linden Homes’ proposals to develop the field at Swanmore College of Technology.

The school was set to benefit from the development as a new sport field was to be provided on paddock land to the north, subject to county council approval. It would also have been for community use.

Although the council received 43 letters of support for the scheme, several residents objected.

Speaking at the meeting on June 20, Rachel Pelly, of Lower Chase Road, Swanmore, said: “While we recognise the need for more housing in the village, this scheme is too dense and does not comply with the village design statement.

“We have concerns that this green field could turn into a brick and tarmac urban jungle. There are too many houses placed in one site.”

But Robin Reay, agent for Linden, said: “Our view is that the proposal is for a quality development, well designed and appropriate for the site. Significant and unique benefits arise from it.”

Officers recommended refusing the plans, arguing the loss of the field was unacceptable and that the replacement was not guaranteed. They also criticised the density, lack of visitor parking and sustainability of the buildings.

Several councillors agreed and urged Linden to go back to the drawing board.

Cllr Therese Evans said: “I just feel there is a better scheme and I think Swanmore deserves better than a very cramped development right on the village edge. I would like to think the developer will go away and think about the reasons for refusal and come back with an acceptable scheme that addresses our concerns.”

In a statement released after the meeting, Linden senior plan manager Mark Carrington said: “Given the nature of these proposals and what they offer to Swanmore, we are disappointed that members took the decision to accord with the views of their officers.

“Having already made amendments to the scheme during the course of the application we will now have to consider potential next steps and the future for this project.”

Councillors voted seven to three to refuse permission.