CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 80 homes on a greenfield site in Hampshire have cleared another hurdle.

Totton and Eling Town Council has thrown its support behind the latest application to redevelop a large area of farmland land north of Loperwood Lane in Calmore.

The initial application was turned down by New Forest District Council in 2016 after sparking more than 100 objections.

But the applicants lodged an appeal and a public inquiry was ordered into the scheme, which involves a 4.4-hectare area next to the New Forest National Park.

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A few months before the hearing civic chiefs dropped a bombshell by abandoning their attempt to block the proposal.

The district council decided to offer no evidence at the inquiry following warnings it was likely to lose the appeal, potentially costing taxpayers about £50,000.

Town hall bosses backed down after receiving new legal advice issued in the wake of the government’s pledge to tackle the nation’s housing shortage.

Following the inquiry the scheme was granted outline planning permission - but a more detailed application will have to be approved before work can start.

Now the Aster Group housing association has submitted plans to build 19 detached houses and 48 semi-detached properties, plus seven terraced homes and a block of six flats.

An Aster spokesman said: "Our proposals represent a valuable opportunity to deliver much-needed affordable housing, including 40 affordable homes. We believe our plans respect the setting of neighbouring properties and deliver an attract scheme that is in keeping with the local area."

Members of the town council agreed to support the proposal, despite raising concerns over the possibility of flooding.

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They also suggested that the entrance to the new development should be moved to prevent vehicle headlights shining into a cottage in Loperwood Lane, which is opposite the site.

The initial application was rejected by the district council three years ago.

Objectors said the new homes would generate too much traffic as well as adding to flooding problems by covering what they described as the “Calmore sponge” with bricks and concrete.

Kerie Wallace, of Calmore Cottage, told councillors: “Plonking 80 houses on a field would be an environmental disaster."

But representatives from the original applicants, Howard Sharp and Partners, rejected claims made by the protesters.

Planning agent Dr Robert Wickham described the proposal as “technically sound” and said it would provide Totton with “quality homes”.