FIVE new homes in Branksome which their owner claimed were not selling due to “Brexit uncertainty” can now be demolished.

The houses in Balcombe Road were built in 2016 but, with none sold two years later, developer Rafferty Property applied to replace them with 30 flats.

And the application has now been approved, despite attracting more than 100 letters of objection.

Council planning officer Clare Spiller said: “Whilst the proposal results in a mass of development different to that currently on site, its siting and scale reflects the predominant residential character of the road and provides additional residential units within a sustainable transport corridor.”

Before being replaced with the new houses, the site had been made up of two bungalows.

In 2012 they were bought by Sphere Property to allow the existing development to take place.

The homes had been marketed for £1.3 million each but increases in stamp duty and "Brexit uncertainty" had made it difficult to sell them, the firm said in a statement.

Instead the firm proposed demolishing the houses and replacing them with a block of 30 flats.

But the scheme attracted criticism from people living nearby who said they were being made to suffer in favour of the developer’s finances.

Among them was John Rundle who said: “From the outset there was no surprise that these houses did not sell given the unattractive congested nature of the development and unrealistic asking prices.

“Two previous traditional houses on a pleasant corner site had been replaced by an ill-conceived, unwanted project.

“Now the local residents face the prospect of a scheme to rescue the finances of the developer which is absurd.

“It may not be an ideal solution but there is no reason why the existing properties, which are already showing signs of decay, should not have a makeover and be offered for sale at competitive prices.”

Despite their concerns, the application was approved by the council at the end of last month.

In her report, planning officer Clare Spiller said there were “economic and social benefits” of the new development.