DEVELOPERS awaiting a decision on their plans to build on a Fordingbridge town centre have been urged to make a fresh start by the council’s conservation officer.

The scheme from Crownshade Ltd to build seven new homes and extend an existing outbuilding into a further home at 1 and 3 Provost Street has been recommended for refusal to New Forest District Council’s planning committee, which meets on Wednesday.

The firm have sought permission to demolish the two dwellings currently on the site as well as all outbuildings bar the one they want to convert.

Fordingbridge Town Council has given its support to the plans and recommended they should be approved as they “make use of a derelict site and in keeping with others in area”.

However, a planning officer is advising members to refuse the scheme, stating that it “fails to pick up on the local context and would not enhance urban design or quality of the character and appearance of the conservation area”.

The officer’s report also says one of the proposed homes would present an unneighbourly and overbearing form of development to the outlook from a home in Highbank Gardens.

The local authority’s senior conservation and building design officer, Warren Lever, has raised a series of issues with the development.

“The previous advice given by the local planning authority has not been responded to by the applicant or their agent and as presented the scheme does not provide the response to character that was advised,” said Mr Lever.

“We would still suggest that a fresh start is required and that the degree of built form is reduced significantly along with a much clearer contextual layout.

“This would allow it to respond more harmoniously to the conservation area and officers could assist more proactively with solutions for the scheme. A significant reduction in development form would allow the scheme to balance harm against any public benefits more positively.”

A planning statement submitted on behalf of Crownshade says: “The development proposed has evolved through responding positively to the pre-application advice received from the local planning authority. The intensity of the scheme has been markedly reduced and what is proposed is now a low density development by town centre standards.”