A PUBLIC inquiry has been ordered into controversial plans to build more than 40 homes on former greenbelt land in Hampshire.

Pennyfarthing Homes has lodged an appeal after being refused consent to develop a large site near the village school at Milford-on-Sea.

The application was rejected by New Forest District Council, which criticised the lack of affordable housing, after sparking more than 200 objections.

Members had been urged to approve the application but went against the advice of planning officers.

Pennyfarthing, which wants to build 42 properties on a site between Lymington Road and School Lane, lodged an appeal which will be heard at a public inquiry.

But the application was turned down by the district council’s planning committee in July.

Setting out its grounds for rejecting the application, the council said: “The site was only released from green belt land and allocated for housing on the

basis that its development would meet local housing needs which would not otherwise be provided for.

“It would not be appropriate to allow such a limited provision of affordable housing and low cost market housing.”

But Pennyfarthing has defended its proposals.

Planning manager Alex Laney said: “In total 45% of the proposed dwellings are affordable, comprising 14% shared ownership, 14% affordable rent and 17% starter homes.

“The provision of starter homes has been accepted on other recent New Forest District Council housing sites and the new National Planning Policy Framework recognises these dwellings as an affordable housing tenure.

“The proposed development also provides significant community benefits, including allotments, a school drop-off/parking and the provision of land for sports pitches.”

The original plans and amendments sparked 201 objections.