A PLANNING application has been rejected amid fears the proposed development would harm a protected tree.

New Forest District Council has refused to support an application to demolish a garage at Mount Avenue in New Milton and build a four-bedroom house on the site.

Giving its reasons the council voiced fears for the future of a protected Monterey pine tree.

Describing the tree as a "principal landscape feature" the authority said: "It is prominent in the street scene, with significant public amenity value within the local environment.

"It has not been demonstrated that the proposal would not cause significant harm to this protected tree."

However the applicant has lodged an appeal, which will be heard by a government-appointed planning inspector.