A HEALTH care company is battling to save a £3m nursing home scheme that will create at least 80 jobs.

St Cloud Care has lodged an appeal after civic chiefs rejected its application for a showpiece project comprising a four-storey, 70-bed complex.

The proposed state-of-the-art home at Southampton Road, Hythe, will include treatment rooms and a hydrotherapy pool.

It aims to ease the growing shortage of nursing home places in the New Forest, a popular retirement area that has a higher-than-average number of pensioners.

The district council refused planning permission for the scheme last year after receiving 35 letters of objection from people angry at the size of the complex.

The council said the building would dominate neighbouring houses and said that the home’s poor design would give it an “austere, institutional appearance”.

St Cloud has lodged an appeal with Government planners, who will decide if the authority’s decision should stand.

Documents submitted to the council say the site is isolated from its immediate surroundings, creating an opportunity for a “stand alone” development. They add: “The redevelopment of the site will enhance the landscape character of the area.

“The property will provide a high quality environment for future occupiers of the building with a range of communal facilities and a carefully laid out amenity space.”

The site used to be occupied by the Forresters respite care centre, which was demolished last year.

Speaking shortly after the application was submitted a St Cloud spokesman said: “There’s a great demand for the highest care accommodation capable of meeting high dependency needs.

“The design philosophy is to create a domestic, family-scale environment that enables staff to provide appropriate levels of care.”

But objectors criticised the proposed development in letters to the council, with one critic describing the proposed development as a “monstrosity”.