CIVIC chiefs have backed the latest application to build homes behind a Grade II-listed pub in the New Forest.

Members of the district council's planning committee voiced support for an application to construct a trio of four-bedroom houses on derelict land next to the White Horse Inn at Milford on Sea.

But they were warned the occupiers of a nearby property with a garden backing on to the site had not been notified of the application.

It meant planning permission could not be granted until they had been given enough time to comment on the proposal.

Committee members authorised the council's chief planning officer, Claire Upton-Brown, to grant consent subject to no significant representations being received.

A previous proposal to build four homes on the land was rejected by the authority in July after sparking a flurry of objections.

As reported in the Daily Echo, much of the controversy centred on plans to build an access road off Grebe Close, a no-through-road.

Cllr David Hawkins warned that increasing the amount of traffic using the road would be “absolute madness”.

The applicant, Bayview Developments, went back to the drawing board and devised a three-home scheme, with access from Keyhaven Road instead of Grebe Close.

A report to the latest meeting of the committee said the latest scheme made an effective use of an untidy and redundant space behind the White Horse.

Speaking on behalf of the applicants, planning consultant Adam Bennett said the application was a huge improvement on the previous proposal.

However, Grebe Close resident Diana Brushwood said householders were still unhappy with what she described as an “ill thought-out over-developed scheme”.

A representative from Milford Parish Council, which had objected to the proposal, said villagers "had hoped for something a little better”.

Cllr Maureen Holding said the scheme was still too cramped. She added: “There are nine objections from local people and I don’t feel this is quite good enough. It's an urban development and I’m not convinced it's in keeping.”

But two other members, Cllr Sue Bennison and Cllr Barry Dunning, described the application as a "vast improvement" on the previous scheme.