ONE of Hampshire's top comprehensive schools has lodged a powerful plea for the new dock to be rejected.

Cathy Cooke, chairman of governors at Totton's Hounsdown School, told the public inquiry into Associated British Ports' plans for a container terminal between Hythe and Marchwood of the school's fears over the impact it would have on pupils.

She pointed out that Hounsdown's pupils had been achieving outstanding results in their GCSE examinations which put them among the best in Hampshire.

And she stressed there was a determination to protect pupils, help them maximise their potential in the face of concerns at the effect increased traffic on surrounding roads and more trains on the track past the school might have.

Travel to the school would be affected for its staff, pupils, parents and governors, she said, also warning of possibly safety hazards brought about not only by busier roads, but by a busier level crossing just a short distance from the school gates.

Additional noise would also have an impact on the school itself particularly in the summer when windows were open, she said.

There were also warnings from Hampshire County Councillor Brian Dash over the threat to the character of his Dibden and Hythe division.

Pointing out that an official survey had rated Hythe as the best market town in the whole of Hampshire, he also referred to the battle to retain its character in the face of massive industrial developments in the surrounding area.

He pointed out that the Waterside parishes already contributed to that need through Europe's biggest military port at Marchwood and the US Army's marine activity base at Hythe.