THE DAWN chorus of birdsong and the sight of the evening sunset have forced councillors to reject plans for two industrial units.

Paultons Properties had asked New Forest District Council for permission to replace two existing buildings with two bigger and better ones at the Mortimers Industrial Unit at Romsey Road, Ower.

But objections from a neighbour that they would obscure the view of the sunset and the muffle sound of birds singing from his garden led to a refusal.

Now an appeal from the company could be on the way.

Council officers had advised the district planning development control committee to give it permission and also pointed out that the buildings to be demolished were "not especially attractive."

They added that although the new buildings would be bigger, they would be more appropriate for the site and would give it a "more appropriate" appearance. They contended that any detrimental effect to neighbouring properties would be outweighed by the new buildings' smartness.

There was also strong support from district economic development office councillor David Scott, and from Copythorne Parish Council.

But neighbour Brian Fidler sent a written objection warning that one of the big new buildings, which would run across the end of his garden, would take away his view of sunsets, with his "countryside sounds gone for ever and no more bird songs." He also warned that it would "obscure our beautiful sunsets for ever".

That sparked an immediate proposal from councillor Ben Earwicker for the scheme to be removed, and it was defeated by 11 votes to three.

"Where he had a few small pens, he would have a massive bulk of building," said Mr Earwicker.

But Richard Mancey, a partner in Paultons Properties, said the question of an appeal was being considered and added: "We were first of all surprised and then disappointed that the council didn't take the opportunity of enabling us to improve our facilities, particularly with regard to employment in the area.

"We had very lengthy discussions with the council and we thought we had done everything to satisfy all the requirements."

He pointed out that Paultons had planted a hedge to screen the site and that was now 16 feet high. The existing units are home to a range of businesses employing between 40 and 50 people. Mr Mancey said jobs would be created if the new buildings went ahead.