PLANS to build almost 170 homes on former green belt land in a Hampshire town have sparked more than 400 objections.

Pennyfarthing Homes is seeking consent to redevelop an area of arable land at Brockhills Lane, New Milton, which is next to a nature reserve.

Pennyfarthing says the scheme will provide much-needed new housing and a large amount of public open space.

But a 360-strong action group called Residents Against the Development of Brockhills Lane (RADBL) has been set up to fight the application.

RADBL members were among a large number of people who attended a meeting of New Milton Town Council, which agreed to recommend New Forest District Council to reject the proposal.

Protesters said the proposed new estate would create extra traffic problems in the area, endangering motorists and pedestrians.

Graham Jackson, secretary of New Milton Residents' Association, described the local road network as "inadequate to support a large increase in vehicle movements".

Cllr Steve Clarke, chairman of the town council's planning committee, said the area needed a road structure that was "fit for purpose".

The application has sparked 412 letters of objection and only eight of support.

One of the objectors describes the proposal as “totally ill thought” and “utterly selfish” towards people living in the area, adding: "The size of the development is way too big."

Another protester says: "How you can cram so many houses on to a plot is beyond me.

“The site was originally green belt and a lot of wildlife including deer and bats still use this area. Please reject this and make it green belt again before all the countryside disappears.”

But the land is earmarked for residential development in the council’s new Local Plan, which was approved last summer.

A Pennyfarthing spokesperson said: “Our project team have been working hard over the course of several years to get our plans for Brockhills Lane right.

“These efforts have resulted in what we believe are the best possible proposals for this site, taking a wide range of aspects into consideration and incorporating feedback from the council, statutory consultees and the local community.

“There is a real opportunity here to deliver an attractive, high-quality development in a location the council has allocated in the adopted Local Plan."

Pennyfarthing says the 169-home scheme features a “meandering” village layout which will give the new neighbourhood a rural feel.

It says also says traffic surveys have shown that the proposed development will not have a significant impact on the local road network.