FOR a second time planners have sunk a proposal for a floating house on a reservoir near Alresford.

Water Lily House would have rested on five concrete floats.

The plan was proposed for a former agricultural reservoir at Fobdown Farm, off Abbotstone Road.

But the planning department at Winchester City Council have scuttled the plan and for the same reason as a similar application last year.

The planning committee agreed with their officers that the proposal was not of exceptional enough quality.

The floating houses would have five bedrooms with a plunge pool in the centre. a floating bridge wold have connected the house to land.

Applicant Martin Pratt spoke to the committee and said a design review panel had agreed it met the 'exceptional design' criteria, adding it was best qualified to comment on design.

Mr Pratt said the scheme would "transform a stagnant black plastic-lined water body into a sustainable naturalised location with tree planting and hedgerows with a sanctuary for English crayfish supported by the wildlife trust."

But a report to the planning committee said: "Whilst it is acknowledged that the proposal has elements of high quality design, it is not considered that the design of the dwelling is outstanding. The concept of a floating house is not in itself considered to be an original and or outstanding design proposal. In addition, whilst it is commendable that the proposed dwelling would be self-sufficient and have a zero energy requirement, this is not considered to make the proposal truly outstanding and is not significant enough to justify allowing a new dwelling in the countryside."

There were four objections, including Old Alresford Parish Council. The council received eight letters of support, citing the improved biodiversity, improvement to existing reservoir appearance and the "outstanding and innovative design".

The Alresford Society also objected, with Jan Field, chairman, writing: "It is hoped that Winchester City Council’s planners will again refuse permission and avoid setting a precedent for this sort of single property, which mars the important rural setting. It does not reflect local needs nor enhance the rural community in a meaningful way. "

Former Winchester city councillor John Cloyne, of Fordiongton Avenue, Fulflood, Winchester, objected as he did to the first scheme. He wrote: "The site is surrounded by open countryside on all sides and the proposed building is wholly inappropriate in this unspoiled and peaceful corner of the diminishing Hampshire countryside and contrary to the local plan."

Supporter Guy Jones, of Fair View, Alresford, told the committee: "The reservoir is a pretty ugly facility. Anything that can be done to improve that gets my backing."

Cllr Frank Pearson said he thought it was an "interesting and exciting" design and he was frustrated at the inflexibility of the local plan.

The committee voted by five votes to three to refuse the application, with one abstention.

The applicant has six months to decide whether to appeal the decision.