PLANS to build four homes on the site of a recently-exhumed graveyard in Pokesdown have been rejected by BCP Council.

It said developer Jaydem Homes’ four-home scheme for the site next to the former Pokesdown United Reformed Church was “congested and cramped”.

The decision has been welcomed by ward councillors who said there were “serious problems” with the proposed access and the impact it would have on parking for people living nearby.

Work to exhume the 184 graves was completed in January with all remains reinterred at Kinson cemetery.

This was followed by the submission of a planning application in July.

The developer said it had “sensitively balanced” its ambitions for the site and the construction of four two-storey homes was “commensurate” to neighbouring properties.

But 18 people wrote to BCP Council objecting to the development, including councillor Boscombe East and Pokesdown councillor Andy Jones.

He said the proposed access onto the junction with Southbourne Road would make the road “even more dangerous” and that the removal of the wall would reduce parking in the area.

Council planning officer Peter Burridge refused the application at the end of September.

“The proposal has merit in that it would provide additional units of residential accommodation to assist housing delivery and this does weigh in favour of the scheme,” his report said.

“However, the congested and cramped layout of the development, the poor quality living environment that would result for future residents and the highway safety objections would outweigh the merits of the proposal.”

Cllr Jones welcomed the decision, describing it as “fantastic”.

“There were two main issues with the application,” he said. “The location of the access and the loss of parking.

“Parking is already at a premium in the area and the access right on the corner would have been really dangerous.

Fellow ward councillor George Farquhar said he hoped the gravestones would now be restored and that the land could be brought in as a "pocket space" for community use

"What I would like to see is the provision of a mental health facility similar to that of The Retreat which could provide benefits to the whole area," he said.