DEVELOPERS itching to build scores of homes on farmland at Fleet have been sent a "tough luck" message by Hart Council.

Development blueprints, which would have paved the way for building on land at Hitches Lane, Fleet, and Dilly Lane, Hartley Wintney, have been ditched by the council - at least, for the time being.

Councillor Stephen Parker, who is responsible for planning issues, warned: "There is no room for complacency on this matter."

But in the council's view there was no need to consider releasing the farmland for housing in view of the progress being made to build 1100 homes on the former Queen Elizabeth Barracks site at Church Crookham.

"There is no urgency to prepare development briefs for Hitches Lane and Dilly Lane, and the head of environmental services does not propose to devote any staff time to them at the moment," added Coun Parker.

The decision is a blow to the Berkeley Group which, earlier this year, appeared to try to pressurise the council into giving the go-ahead for 260 homes to be built at Hitches Lane. A glossy brochure, sent by Berkeley to scores of homes in the area, claimed the company was working in partnership with the council on the scheme.

But the council reacted angrily and described the claim as "completely misleading", before receiving an apology from the company.

Pressure to develop the Hitches Lane and Dilly Lane sites grew last year when it seemed the Government might order the release of the land to meet housing targets. Since then, however, there has been a change in attitude and it is now up to the council to give the go-ahead for the land to be developed. Coun. Mark Fullbrook said he was delighted with the council's decision. "The developers would be well advised to go and try to build elsewhere," he said.