PLANS to build an eco-house at the bottom of a Fordingbridge garden will now be considered by a planning inspector.

Ian and Dawn Lemon applied to New Forest District Council for planning permission for a passive solar house in the grounds of the Old Manor House at 24, Church Street.

Included in the application were plans to turn the Grade II Listed house into two separate homes.

The couple have spent almost 12 months designing the low-impact circular house, which is just seven metres in diameter, with architects from the Relph Ross Partnership.

However, the district council refused to grant permission on the grounds of loss of trees and greenery and that the development would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area.

Mr Lemon, a former antiques dealer with renovation experience, said: “Many people assume eco-homes should be built in rural locations but I think urban locations work.

“Eco-homes in town centres reduce flash flooding because the rain gets soaked up in the green roof and doesn’t fall on to the ground.

“The green roof and walls replace the land lost to new houses built from bricks and concrete, and they become a haven for wildlife, which is often missing in town centres.”

New Forest District Council stated: “The existing garden area with its trees, greenery and vegetation and its relationship to the host dwelling currently makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the area. “The creation of an additional dwelling and by virtue of its size and scale, together with the extent and nature of the access driveways and car parking, would be an inappropriate form of development in this location.

“By reason of its close relationship and scale, the proposed building would be imposing, intrusive and overbearing in its relationship with the adjoining neighbouring property. “By reason of the siting, size and close proximity of the second floor roof terrace, it would result in unacceptable overlooking of the adjoining neighbouring property.”