PLANS for a new community hospital have sparked fears that the multi-million-pound complex will increase the risk of accidents and flooding.

Hythe and Dibden War Memorial Hospital will be demolished and replaced by a new complex containing 22 consulting rooms if the scheme is given the go-ahead.

Health chiefs are also seeking consent to build 21 homes on part of the site in Beaulieu Road, Hythe.

Locals have stopped short of formally objecting to the scheme but have voiced what they describe as "grave reservations" about the application in letters to New Forest District Council.

They claim the proposed development will create extra traffic problems as well as increasing the flooding danger.

Samuel Pearshouse, of Belvedere Road, Hythe, said: “I'm concerned that these works and increased levels of concrete could have an impact on the local water table, increasing the risk of flooding."

Lynda Edwards, also of Belvedere Road, added: “There are drainage issues with many of the houses that back on to the hospital grounds.

“If water flow increases and causes flooding to my property, what assurances can I be given that the problem will be addressed and any damage made right?”

Southern Water has also raised concerns in a letter to the council.

The company said: "The proposed development would increase flows into the wastewater sewerage system and, as a result, increase the risk of flooding in and around the area.

"Development should not start until a drainage strategy has been submitted and approved."

Anthony Holdsworth, of Greatwood Close, Hythe, said the proposed new homes could result in people living near the site being hit by light pollution. He also cited concerns about the number of accidents that have occurred in the area.

But the local highways authority, Hampshire County Council, says visibility splays at the access exceed the required standard.

The £5.5 million scheme has been drawn up by the NHS Clinical Commission Group (CCG), which says the showpiece facility will replace an ageing and "functionally unacceptable" hospital that was built more than a century ago.

Building a new facility is said to represent better value for money than funding major repairs to the existing complex.

The planning application says no "significant" flood risks have been identified but adds: "Precautionary measures will be incorporated within the development.

"The proposal will provide a modern and efficient health care service within a new purpose-built environment to meet local health care needs."