ONE of Britain’s biggest developers has vowed to appeal after plans to build a £4.2m housing complex in Ringwood were thrown out.

Council chiefs have rejected an application by McCarthy & Stone to bulldoze five houses in Mount Pleasant and build 33 retirement flats on the site.

Critics protested that the proposed scheme would devour a semi-rural area flanked by open spaces, ruining one of Ringwood’s green lungs.

A previous plan to build 39 flats on the site was rejected last year after sparking 23 letters of objection and a 132-name petition.

The Ringwood Society said the proposed development was out of scale and would dominate the area.

McCarthy & Stone went back to the drawing board, reducing the number of flats and creating a bigger gap between the building and the edge of the site.

But the latest scheme has also been turned down.

Mayor of Ringwood councillor Steve Rippon-Swaine condemned the proposal at a meeting of New Forest District Council’s planning committee.

He complained that homes and gardens between two open spaces would be replaced by a single development that would occupy the whole site.

“The sheer mass and height of the buildings will overshadow the green and spacious character of the area.

“It’s overbearing beyond belief,” he said.

A report to councillors said the scheme was less cramped than the original.

It added: “The proposal deletes a large three-storey corner feature that was a particularly inappropriate feature of the previous development.”

However, the new plans were rejected by 13 votes to one.

After the meeting a McCarthy & Stone spokesman said the company was “extremely disappointed” with the councillors’ decision to refuse the application, which had been supported by council officers.

He added: “It is our intention to appeal this decision immediately.”