CIVIC chiefs have thrown out plans to build 90 homes in Otterbourne for the second time – but residents believe the battle "is not over yet".

Development company Gladman first sought permission in August 2016, but withdrew the application in May 2017 after a long battle with residents, who filed a total of 315 objections.

In February this year, the firm approached Winchester City Council with almost identical plans for the field behind The Old Forge pub in Main Road, which were refused on August 2.

Villagers had reformed the Save Otterbourne action group to protest against the plans.

Carol Hawkins of the group told the Chronicle: "Everyone – the parish council, residents, and even the city councillors we have been speaking with – is saying the same thing: it should never be built. It's outside the village boundary, for one!

"But we have been here before, and based on previous, I'm lead to believe the developers will come back with an appeal.

"We'll still continue to fight, and I feel like the campaign has really united the village. We all appreciate what we have here, and although we aren't against development in the village, this particular application just is not right!"

The former city council environment chief councillor Jan Warwick had been a critic of the plans since they were submitted more than two years ago.

Cllr Warwick said: "I am pleased but not surprised the Gladman application has been turned down by the Winchester planning department.

"Not only does this show the determination of the local community to protect its development boundary but also the importance of the approved Winchester District Local Plan.

"However we must not be complacent – Otterbourne is under threat from Lib Dem Eastleigh’s proposals to build over 5300 homes right on its border. The traffic impact of these proposals will be unrelenting."

The application had been faced with more than 250 objections, with objectors expressing concern over traffic, overpopulation, and the effect on wildlife.

Helen Tramaseur, of Bourne Close, said: "Otterbourne C of E school is already stretched to capacity with temporary classrooms being used for pupils. "The facilities at the school will not be able to adequately accommodate increased numbers such a development is likely to bring.

"Additionally, I am concerned that extending the village in this way will mean that our youngest child will not get a school place with his brothers."

One of the main points raised by the action group was that the M3 is being upgraded to a Smart Motorway, meaning the traffic would be "unspeakably bad" with construction vehicles travelling through the village.

The land is also used by dog walkers, and the city council's Ecology Department has identified seven species living in the field.