DEVELOPERS have been sent back to the drawing board over plans to pull down a laundry and build 24 homes.

Rushmoor Council has slammed the design for the development at the Innisfail Laundry site in Cranmore Lane, Aldershot, and threw out the plans at last Wednesday's meeting.

The application shows a block of 11 two-bedroom flats, ten three-bedroom houses and three four-bedroom houses.

The site would be reached from Luke Road East via a new junction with Innisfail Gardens at the southern end.

A 49-signature petition was received by the council, along with several letters of objection from people living near the laundry.

Residents of Cherry Hill Grove, Innisfail Gardens and Rowhill Avenue are concerned about the effects the development would have on their neighbourhood.

Among their complaints were that the new homes would be out of character with the surrounding area and cause an increase in local traffic.

Cllr Neville Dewey supported the residents, saying that the level of development officers were asking them to agree was far too high.

"I have spoken to officers and I can understand their reasons to grant but I do have serious problems, particularly with the block of flats for the site. The mass and block of that building is horrendous.

"I also have a problem with the parking that is associated with this block. I don't like the drive-through parking."

Cllr Francis Williams agreed, saying: "I have some problems with this development — traffic generation comes to mind, and the overall density of the flats.

"I am sure that there could be a more suitable design solution.

"Our planning department is once again having to follow government guidelines."

Other descriptions of the design included ‘ugly' and ‘a monstrosity', and it was left to head of planning Keith Holland to accept that a second attempt was the only option.

"We should not enter into a situation where there is design by committee.

"You have highlighted a number of issues that you are not happy about and we will explore with the developer possible solutions.

"If they decide not to amend plans, we will bring it back to you but if they decide to make alterations we will take it to the public first."

Residents' committee member Jan Gregg, of Cherry Hill Grove, was delighted at the decision of the committee and pleased that the councillors were listening to their concerns.

She said: "We have always said that the density is far too high for the space there.

"We are concerned at the design of the block of flats, and we hoped that the applicant would not have included it.

"The houses are totally out of keeping with the surrounding area — there are no flats in our neighbourhood. We realise that the laundry must go but we want a development that is in keeping with the area.

"We look forward to the new proposals."