Councillors are being urged to back plans for 40 one and two-bedroom flats on land behind the Oatsheaf pub in Crookham Road at a crunch meeting tomorrow night.

But people living nearby are angry at being given too little time to study amended plans.

They say amended plans were at the council offices until January 13 — a day after they had drawn up their objections at a residents’ meeting.

“This is a breach of public rights and makes a nonsense of the democratic process,” fumed campaigner Karen Ingala, who will speak against the plans on behalf of residents at tomorrow night’s meeting.

Hart refused permission to demolish the Fleet Coaches depot, plus two houses off Crookham Road, to make way for a three-storey block of 42 one and two-bedroom flats in May.

Councillors ruled it would have resulted in overdevelopment of the site and would overlook nearby homes.

A government inspector threw out the scheme before Christmas but the applicants submitted a revised scheme.

Councillors on the Fleet and Church Crookham Plann-ing Advisory Group have objected to the latest application due to serious concerns about extra cars using the busiest road junction in the district.

Hart has also received a series of objection letters warning of a loss of light, privacy, trees and wildlife, increased traffic, inadequate car parking and an unsympathetic design.

Hart planning chief Ron Percival said the difference between the two applications was that the latest did not have two flats in the roof of the complex facing Fraynes Croft.

And his report states: “I believe the inspector’s concerns about overlooking have been overcome.”

He is urging members to approve the scheme, subject to a number of legal agreements.

But Mrs Ingala warned: “These flats are very big and extremely ugly.

“A three-storey block of flats only four metres from the garden fence will flank Fraynes Croft’s much-loved communal garden.

“This will cut out light and be a very ugly backdrop.

“I don’t think many people realise that at the back of Fraynes Croft there is a series of bungalows which will be towered over by something resembling a Victorian prison.”

Mrs Ingala said the development would mean about 60 more cars trying to get on and off Crookham Road just before the busy Oatsheaf traffic lights.

“It will also mean the loss of more than 20 trees, including established oaks,” she said.

“There are 130 trees on the site, including 75 oak trees and four beech.

“Trees may be in danger if their roots are cut or they are starved of water as a result of the building.”

Mrs Ingala added: “The town’s mains are already overloaded so the additional pressure could mean residents will no longer need to buy their own compost.

“With an ample supply of raw sewage on their lawns they won’t even need to leave their armchairs to go to the garden centre.”

Mrs Ingala said: “As a teacher I understand the need for low-cost housing.

“There is nothing wrong with flats if they are sympathetically designed. The danger is developers will design flats solely to maximise profit without due regard for the environment or the community.

“Residents are not being unreasonable. We understand the landowners are entitled to make a profit on their investment.

“We want to consider the needs of others, existing residents, residents-to-be, the environment and the local community.”

Hart Council planning officer Margaret Beauchamp, the case officer dealing with the application, said: “There were some amended plans that were not in reception but members of the public could have asked to see them.

“Someone came in on January 13 and I asked if they had seen the amended plans. They hadn’t so I took them down.

“Our policy on amended plans is that we reconsult everyone by letter but only if they will be affected badly by them.

“In this instance all seven overlooking windows had been deleted so we thought this was a substantially better position than the appeal decision.

“It’s not our policy to notify residents of every amended plan because it would just take too long.”

Interested residents can listen to the debate in the Hart Council chamber, Harlington Way, Fleet, from 7pm tomorrow.