CONTROVERSIAL plans to almost double the number of rooms at a Hampshire hotel have been rejected.

A government-appointed planning inspector has dismissed an appeal lodged after civic chiefs rejected an application to build a two-storey extension to the Premier Inn at Silver Street, Hordle.

The site comprises the Three Bells pub and a 20-bedroom hotel built in 2008.

New Forest District Council received an application to enlarge the hotel and provide a further 16 rooms in a scheme that would have involved the demolition of a neighbouring house.

But the authority refused to grant consent after locals said the proposed development would create extra traffic problems as well as devaluing property prices.

Hordle councillor Penny Lovelace was one of several people who wrote hard-hitting letters of objection.

She said: “I’ve seen our village pub undergo many changes over the last 30 years – some for the good, some – like this one – not. This building is going to look as if it belongs in a town.

“People will end up with great losses on the worth of their properties. One family is going to have a car park at their back door.”

Fellow objector Doug Steers added: “Any increase in the size of the hotel would result in a disproportionately sized building that’s totally out of character with the village. The slab-sided extension will be an eyesore and dominate the immediate area.”

Mr Steers said the proposed increase in parking spaces would result in a green verge being replaced by a “sea of tarmac”.

He also warned that extra bedrooms at the hotel would result in more traffic using several B roads that converged on the village roundabout, which was already congested at peak times.

“The pub driveway is partially hidden from drivers entering the village and will undoubtedly become more dangerous with the extra traffic,” added Mr Steers.

Planning inspector Martin Andrews upheld the council’s decision after criticising the “substantial bulk and mass” of the building.

He said: “From my visit I formed the view that the hotel does not sit comfortably either with the original pub or the context of the site as a whole.

“An important part of the appellants’ case is that the site is already established for hotel use and that the addition of a further 16 bedrooms would benefit tourism in the area and the local economy.

“However, I conclude the scheme is unacceptable because of the harm that would be caused to the character and appearance of this part of Hordle.”