MORE than 350 homes could be built in the Hampshire countryside if a scheme is approved this week.

But but council planners have sided with scores of locals and marked it for refusal.

The new 365-home estate is proposed for Thorn Hill, a site which sits off Flexford Road between Chandler’s Ford and North Baddesley.

The site forms part of the ‘green’ gap between the two parishes and therefore has not been identified in the Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) local plan as suitable for development.

And Baddesley borough councillor Alan Dowden said: “I have to keep an open mind, but on the evidence I have to date I agree with the officer’s recommendation to refuse the application.“This is because it is contrary to a number of planning policies within the local plan.“I believe the officer has produced a fine report.”

The application, to go before councillors at the Southern Area Planning Committee at Crosfield Hall tomorrow, includes up to 40 per cent affordable housing, informal public open space and structural planting.

Nevertheless, the move has been roundly criticised by local residents and community leaders.

In a statement to the planning officer, Valley Park Parish Council said: it has “many concerns about this planning application”. “The countryside in the area has a special character with the topography contours displaying landscape features such that any buildings would be visible to Ampfield residents,” the statement said.

“Valley Park residents have had more than sufficient large scale development over the last thirty years and certainly need a period of time to consolidate its community.”

One resident, who was not named, said: “This area has had a vast amount of housing in recent years and does not need any more.

“The number of houses is far too small for such a small space, they will only be able to fit for sardines.”

Others raised concerns about the increased traffic onto Flexford Road which would be the main access point to the new development, according to the plans. Resident Judith Sheppard said that the road was “too narrow”.

However, in presenting their case for the development to planners Gladman said, in its view, there was a need for housing in the area: “In order to deliver the level of housing required across the borough, Valley Park will be required to accommodate additional growth and it is inevitable that this will have to be sited outside of the village boundary resulting in some loss of open countryside/agricultural land.”