PEOPLE living beside an industrial estate have won the first round of their battle to prevent one of the firms extending its opening hours.

Councillors went against the advice of planning officers and rejected an application from Screwfix Direct - even though the scheme would have created 18 full and part-time jobs.

Screwfix wanted to open until 8pm on weekdays, 6pm on Saturdays and 4pm on Sundays and bank holidays.

The building supply firm occupies part of the Carvers Industrial Estate in Southampton Road, Ringwood, which is next to a conservation area.

People living nearby had objected to the proposal, saying it would result in extra noise and disturbance.

They pointed out that another company on the estate had recently been refused consent to open on Sundays and Saturday afternoons.

The Screwfix application was thrown out at a meeting of New Forest District Council's planning and development control committee.

Councillor Jeremy Heron said the scheme, if approved, “would drive a coach and horses” through restrictions imposed in 1977 to protect the estate's neighbours.

Other members agreed that the proposal was “incompatible” with conditions imposed when planning permission for the units was granted in 1977.

But planning officer David Groom said: “The applicant has made a viable case that could be supported without causing any detriment. You've got to make a balanced judgement.”

Clare Day, representing the applicant, denied that all the firms on the estate were governed by restricted opening hours.

She added: “Members would not be justified in refusing this application on the grounds of noise and disturbance on the evidence and the case that we have put forward.”

However, the scheme was rejected by 13 votes to one.

Now people living near the estate must wait to learn if Screwfix will lodge an appeal with Government planners, who have the power to overturn the council's decision.