MULTI-million-pound plans to build 36 retirement apartments in a village have been thrown out.

Civic chiefs have rejected an application by McCarthy & Stone, which wanted to bulldoze four homes in Beaulieu Road, Dibden Purlieu, and replace them with a three-storey complex.

A report to the district council’s planning committee criticised the “unduly poor design” of the proposed development.

It also cited the excessive size and height of the building and its potential impact on neighbouring properties, most of which were twostorey.

Representatives from McCarthy & Stone said the design complemented existing buildings in the area.

They also praised the “high quality” design and the scale of the proposal, saying it was “entirely appropriate” for the site.

But their comments failed to impress committee members, including Cllr Chris Lagdon. Pointing to an artist’s impression of the scheme he said: “If that complements the local designs then the designs are atrocious – and I know they are not.”

Cllr Anna Rostand added: “I’ve nothing against these developments – it’s just a shame they have to build them so high and so large.”

Members of Hythe and Dibden Parish Council urged the committee to reject the application, claiming the proposed development was “oppressive and unneighbourly”.

A report to councillors said the size of the building was in stark contrast to existing properties in the area.

It added: “On the site’s south-western side there would be a particularly significant loss of greenery and the setting for this aspect of the proposed building would be dominated by hard standing and parked cars, with little scope for new or replacement parking.

“This would appear unduly harsh, particularly taking into account the scale and depth of this part of the proposed building.”

The application was rejected by 17 votes to one.