PLANS for 180 new homes next to one of the south coast’s biggest nature reserves have sparked fury.

Bargate Homes has unveiled plans for the development off Old Street in Stubbington, which covers a total area of 10.6 hectares with 5.4 hectares of public open space.

Residents fear the scheme could put a severe strain on infrastructure and could threaten nearby Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, home to rare animals and plants including the Slender Bird’s-foot Trefoil and Frogbit.

The proposals are for a mix of terraced, semi-detached and detached properties with some smaller flats and maisonettes.

Councillor Kay Mandry, who represents Hillhead on Fareham Borough Council said: “I am hoping that the project will not go ahead.

“The proposals will put a strain on the existing doctors’ surgery which is at capacity already and the villages primary and secondary schools.

“If the developers submit a planning application, then I will speak to oppose it.

“The development is in the strategic gap and next door to the Haven which is a site of specific scientific interest.”

Councillor Carolyn Heneghan, UKIP councillor for Stubbington added: “I welcome development in the borough if it is the correct kind of development and this is not.

“It’s on a greenfield which once it is gone, it’s gone. We are adding to existing problems of infrastructure, schools and medical services.”

Bill Hutchinson, chair of the Hillhead Residents Association said: “It’s in land designated as countryside and outside the settlement boundary, making the development unsuitable.

“It’s also right next to an important nature reserve which is designated as a Ramsar site.”

Bargate Homes defended their plan claiming it would “not have a significant environmental impact” and would deliver “enhanced open spaces” to preserve ecology.

Residents will be able to take a look at the plans at a public consultation event tomorrow between 4pm and 7pm at the Holyrood Church in Gosport Road, Stubbington.