PROTESTERS have suffered a setback in their bid to block Network Rail's bid to change the face of Farnborough railway station.

Their objections failed to sway Rushmoor Council planners, who have given the multi-million pound project their blessing.

But, because of the controversy surrounding the scheme, they have passed the application to the Government's South East office before taking a final decision.

The blueprint includes reshaping the area around Station Approach to improve access for all modes of transport.

A five-level multi-storey car park, with 1,222 parking spaces, is proposed with direct access off Union Street.

Also included is a four-storey office block and an unspecified number of homes fronting on to Union Street.

Among organisations which objected was Union Street Residents' Association, which fears the plan will lead to extra traffic on the area's clogged up roads.

Forty-five residents also complained that Network Rail wanted to overdevelop the site, and that the scheme would lead to a loss of privacy and outlook. Their views were echoed by 84 residents who signed a petition listing 10 objections, one of which claimed there was no need for another office block in the area.

But in a report the development control committee was told the Station Approach changes would provide an "enhanced gateway" to the main station. The report added that the redevelopment would have a beneficial effect on the area's character.