CIVIC chiefs have defeated an attempt to prevent 120 homes being built in the New Forest National Park.

The National Park Authority (NPA) has rejected calls to delete the proposal from a planning blueprint that identifies suitable uses for sites across the area.

As reported, about 800 homes will be built in the national park over the next 20 years if the document is implemented in full.

One of the sites earmarked for development is an area of land next to the former Fawley Power Station, which closed for 2013.

Speaking at an NPA meeting the authority's head of planning, Steve Avery, said the homes would only be allowed as part of an integrated scheme to transform the power station land by building more than 1,000 flats, houses and marine villas.

The old industrial buildings are within the New Forest District Council area but are ringed by the national park.

NPA member Richard Clewer described the draft local plan as "broadly excellent" but said the authority had a duty to conserve and enhance the natural environment.

He added: "To develop an 8.47 hectare of land to enable a development outside the national park just does not sit comfortably with me.

"If it were social housing it would be a lot more comfortable with it but it is not, and mitigation does not change the fact that we are losing nearly nine hectares of national park."

Mr Skewer's call for the proposal to be deleted from the new Local Plan was backed by fellow NPA member John Sanger.

He claimed that a 15-page development document used to justify the site's inclusion in the blueprint was a "mix of unsubstantiated suggestions and poetic licence with little evidence behind the assertions".

But other members of the Lymington-based authority supported the proposal.

Keith Mans said: "You can't draw strict lines to say where the Forest begins and ends. This is a living Forest and we need to move with the times."

An application to transform the old power station site is due to be submitted later this year and is likely to be debated at a joint meeting of the NPA and the district council.

The £800 million plan includes 1,500 homes and a marina, plus a restaurant at the top of the power station's 650ft chimney.

Fawley Waterside, which bought the 300-acre site, is also proposing to to convert the former turbine hall unto an underground car park for 2,000 vehicles.