DEVELOPERS planning to build a total of 213 homes on two sites in the New Forest will not have to outline the potential impact on the environment.

Pennyfarthing Homes has applied for permission to provide 63 properties at Tinkers Cross Farm, Fordingbridge, and Oceanic Estates is drawing up proposals for 150 homes at Corks Farm, Marchwood.

The Tinkers Cross scheme has sparked several objections from people living in the area.

But New Forest District Council has ruled that neither applicant needs to submit an environmental impact assessment. The move means both schemes are more likely to be approved.

Fordingbridge Town Council is urging the authority to reject the Tinkers Cross proposal, citing "poor design and access".

It is also concerned about the amount of traffic likely to use Fryern Court Road, which it describes as a single-track country road.

Other protesters include Jackie Mullard, of Park Road, Fordingbridge.

Her letter of objection says: "The rural areas around Fordingbridge have proved to be a huge advantage during the last year and many people will have discovered the network of footpaths which criss-cross the area in question.

"Keep any further development around Fordingbridge to the A338 corridor."

Antony Stack, of Whitsbury Road, Fordingbridge, adds: "The high density of housing proposed on this site neither reflects or enhances the hamlet of Tinkers Cross."

Tim Browne, of Albion Road, Fordingbridge, says that and other housing schemes will have a "severe impact" on the town.

He adds: "I have no objection to small, sensitive house construction in Fordingbridge but the site is in the wrong place and is too big. It would fundamentally alter Fordingbridge to the detriment of all."

Julie Day, of Elmwood Avenue, Fordingbridge, says it would be a great shame to see a beauty spot turned into "yet another housing estate".

Announcing its decision the district council said the proposed development would not have a significant effect on the environment, subject to adequate mitigation measures.

It has made a similar ruling in relation to the Corks Farm proposal.

Marchwood county councillor David Harrison said: "There is an argument for insisting on an environmental impact assessment for all new developments.

"How do you know what harm you might be causing unless you do the necessary level of research?

"I can see here that the land in question appears to be fairly low value agricultural/grazing land.

"The decision does mean that planning permission will be more likely to be granted, subject to all the other considerations such as flood risk, design, access arrangements etc."