COUNCILLORS have rejected plans to replace a dilapidated bungalow with a block of flats, despite planners recommending the scheme be approved.

Dozens of people objected to the redevelopment of 74 The Grove in Christchurch, saying the new building would have been “substantially” out of character for the area.

Their position was backed at the Thursday meeting of the BCP Council planning committee with councillors also raising concerns about the shortage of parking.

A report published ahead of the Thursday (August 8) meeting by planning officer Kevin Chilvers had recommended that the plans, submitted by Alexander Addis, be approved.

“The scheme complies with policy in being compatible with or improving its surroundings in relation to nearby properties including minimising disturbance to the area and in its impacts on the character of the area,” it said.

Mr Chilvers also said the inability of the council to meet the five-year supply of housing required by government meant the creation of more homes should be supported.

Had it been approved, the development would have seen the bungalow knocked down to clear the way for a three-storey block of three flats.

However, the application had attracted widespread opposition from people living nearby, including neighbours either side.

Speaking at the meeting, Peter Nickowski, who lives at number 72, said the proposed building would not fit in with the rest of the houses in the area – most of which are either two-storey homes or bungalows.

“It will overlook our family home and will cover it totally in shadow,” he said. “And it will enable people to have direct visibility into our home.

“It’s on a busy junction and, from its drive, has limited visibility because of the bus stop directly outside.”

Traffic concerns featured heavily in the reasons councillors gave for rejecting the scheme, particularly with it only providing four parking spaces, when council policy should require six.

Cllr Ann Stribley said: “This is a total rebuild so it should meet the requirement, there’s really no excuse for it not to.

“The road is too narrow at this point and too close to the bend, too close to the junction and too close to the bus stop.”

The committee agreed unanimously to refuse planning permission on the grounds that the proposed building would be “overbearing”, the loss of privacy to neighbours and the shortfall in parking.