PLANS have been submitted to demolish two flats in a prime coastal location and replace them with 13 apartments – but residents fear the scheme will “destroy the character” of the area.

Hurst and Hurst Estate have put forward the scheme to BCP Council for 26 and 28 Wharncliffe Road in Highcliffe.

If approved, the development would see the existing properties on the site flattened to make way for two apartment blocks, comprising of seven and six homes, respectively.

A statement submitted on behalf of the applicants by Chapman Lily Planning says: “The submitted plans demonstrate that a development of 13 apartments, contained within 2 separate blocks, can be accommodated within the site and will allow for satisfactory separation distances to the boundaries of the sites and the neighbouring properties, adequate landscaping and parking facilities.

“The plans show that the proposal is of a mass and scale which is comparable to the established character of the area.”

The proposed apartment blocks would be a part-two, part-three storey structure.

It is noted in the statement that the layout allows for the retention of mature trees at the front of number 28.

Parking spaces for 15 vehicles on an unallocated basis, with cycle parking and bin storage, are part of the scheme.

The statement adds: “The proposed development will integrate successfully with the established street scene and character of the area and will contribute to the housing stock within the plan area.”

However, opposition has built up against the plans.

One Wharncliffe Road resident, who has submitted an objection, said: “When we purchased this house in November 2013 it was on the understanding that the council wanted to see this, sea facing, part of Wharncliffe Road to continue to be an area of detached houses - indeed a flats proposal for our site had been refused on that basis. That principle has been steadily eroded as more and more flats have been developed along the road.

“Highcliffe is in serious danger of becoming nothing more than ‘flat city’ which we believe will be to the significant detriment of the whole area.”

Another resident said: “If this planning application is allowed it will continue to destroy the character of Wharncliffe Road. The road is becoming developed with many apartment blocks rather than family homes. It is wrong that two lovely well maintained family homes are being destroyed to create yet more apartments. There are no affordable homes in this development so they will be out of the reach of many younger couples and families.”