SCALED-DOWN plans to build 16 rather than 44 new homes in a “blighted” area of outstanding natural beauty at Chasemoor House, in Hindhead, have triggered objections.

Waverley planners rejected a scheme for 23 two-bedroom houses, 15 three-bedroom houses and six four-bedroom houses on a four-acre area of grassland off the Portsmouth Road, near Kingswood Lane, in July 2015. The land has been used as a football pitch and a putting and chipping golf range for many years.

Concern was raised that 44 new houses was too large a development, at a public consultation attended by 30 residents in October 2014.

But developer Michael Conoley Associates said it was within Waverley Local Plan requirements for 30-50 dwellings per hectare, and an opportunity to “boost significantly” the supply of housing.

Responding to concerns about building new homes in an AONB, the applicant said: “While the site has an AONB designation, this is historic and relates to the 2002 Local Plan.

“The construction of the Hindhead tunnel and associated civil engineering works have completely blighted the site and its designation as AONB is now inappropriate.”

The design and access statement supporting the revised application claimed the proposed development, with fewer houses, would not have any adverse effect on the public interest in relation to the AONB and area of great landscape value.

It claimed the housing plan was sustainable and could be classed as a “major development”.

The plan utilises Tyndall’s Wood as an alternative recreational area to ensure the development had “no significant impact” on the Wealden Heaths phase II Special Protection Area (SPA) and Bramshott and Ludshott Commons Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The statement concluded: “This re-application has considered each of the refusal reasons for the previous application and taken them into account in the design of this revised proposal.”

The Haslemere Society has maintained its objection, despited the reduction in the number of new homes.

Society president John Greer told planning officers: “The housing density is significantly reduced from the previous application, but there are still many reasons which were given for the previous refusal that have not been adequately addressed, in particular building on an AONB without there being special circumstances justifying the proposal.”

A neighbouring resident has complained Grayshott Surgery and the village school could not cope with any increase in demand, adding new residents would be benefiting from services provided by East Hampshire District Council which as Waverley residents, they would not pay tax for.