DEVELOPERS who wanted to create 251 flats - including an 11-storey tower block - at Hedge End's Wildern Mill have finally ditched the scheme.

A year ago residents cheered after civic chiefs rejected the controversial plans from Bellway Homes Wessex Ltd.

Too big, too ugly, out of character and more suited to a city centre was the verdict on the application, which would have seen five blocks of flats - ranging between four and 11 storeys - built on the five-acre site off Charles Watts Way.

Following the refusal of planning permission, a consultation draft brief, which reflected locals' views that there was a need to limit the height of the buildings, was prepared by Eastleigh Council after consultation with residents' groups.

However, Bellway Homes appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against the rejection of the original tower block scheme.

Now Eastleigh Council has confirmed that the developers have withdrawn the appeal. Had it gone ahead, there would almost certainly have been a public inquiry conducted by a government-appointed inspector, who would have ruled on the outcome.

Serina Ramos, chairman of the Turnpike Action Group and Residents' Association, said that it was delighted with the news.

She commented: "We are convinced that it is an indication that people power works. We are certainly glad to see the back of it."

A council spokesman said: "The council, in partnership with the residents, has drawn up a development brief which will guide future development on the site.

"No other application has been lodged yet, although one is expected."

When the planning blueprint was drawn up, councillors were told that the prospective developer and the owners of the site had given a generally positive response to the brief.

However, they had expressed a "significant concern" about the viability of the scheme if anything other than flats was built there.

Civic chiefs insisted on a mix of flats and other types of housing in the blueprint.