A CONTENTIOUS social housing scheme at Braishfield has been deferred to allow the applicant more time to submit alternative plans acceptable to villagers and the parish council.

Borough councillors unanimously rejected Hyde Housing Association’s nine-home proposal at Tuesday’s Test Valley’s southern area committee amid fears that the height of the buildings would have an “adverse impact” on the street scene along Braishfield Road and would be out of keeping with the village.

However, head of planning, Paul Jackson, advised members to defer the application so officers could renegotiate with the housing association.

Hyde wants to build four one-bedroom and five two- bedroom homes on farmland near the Wheatsheaf pub. All will be rented out to people with links to the parish.

The parish council accepts the need for more social housing but it is opposed to this scheme’s design.

Parish chairman, Mike Prince, told the committee its concerns were about the “height and scale” of the development.

Mr Prince revealed that there was a waiting list of 14 people seeking an affordable home in Braishfield.

Fifteen possible sites in the parish have been looked at for affordable homes including the application site.

Chris Balchin, of Braishfield Village Association, also addressed the meeting and he said that there had been “widespread condemnation” of the Hyde plan, which he claimed went against the village design statement.

“This proposal is putting houses in the middle of a field and the design is bland and not typical of homes in Braishfield,” said Mr Balchin.

Hyde Housing’s Christopher Buchan-Hepburn told the meeting that the homes would have to be built by March, 2015, to enable the association to obtain funding.

He said: “The development will be simple red brick one and two-bedroom cottages. It has taken us a long time to get to this stage and I am disappointed that there are objections to the design of the ridge height. All the homes will be designed so that they can be converted into two or three-bedroom homes.”

Braishfield and Ampfield ward member, Martin Hatley, said the application was one of the most difficult he’d ever looked at. “I note that Romsey and District Society had made a comment about houses being an inappropriate use of the field. But this is not really the case. But what concerns me is the roofline would be visible from the road. We have a scheme here where the development would be higher than the Wheatsheaf and basically I don’t support it,” he said.

Several other committee members criticised the design and height of the proposed homes.

A member of the public shouted “shame” when the deferral decision was taken.