Update: New Forest District Group

27th April 2021

News from the New Forest

 

Following the adoption of the New Forest District Local Plan in July last year, outline planning applications for some of the 18 strategic housing sites allocated in the plan are beginning to come in across the district. One feature they have in common is a significant increase in the number of dwellings being applied for in excess of the levels allocated in the adopted plan. Whilst most controversial sites highlighted in previous reports remain in a state of stasis and still await final decisions from, notably the New Forest District Council, two egregious developments have very recently come to the fore.

Land to the north of Hightown Road, Ringwood was allocated 270 dwellings in 2019 but the developers, Taylor Wimpey, have submitted an application for up to 400 homes plus three hectares for employment purposes. (This site is close to Beaumont Park where 175 dwellings have been built).

Such significant variation in allocation numbers questions the reliability of the Local Plan itself if the development capacity has been seriously underestimated. An official objection from the group has been lodged pointing out that the creation of another ‘suburb’ will transform the compact market town out of all recognition, i.e., developers should not be given carte blanche to urbanise a hitherto tranquil greenfield area.

Other objectors have also highlighted the inadequate infrastructure, that the land is low lying and susceptible to flooding and totally missed at other applications, that there are still only two NHS surgeries which will fail to cope with ever an ever-increasing ageing population. A decision will be made on the future of this site by the council on 3 May.

In Fordingbridge applications have already been submitted for 240 homes on land north of Station Road and 63 homes at Burgate Acres, Salisbury Road, which seems the most environmentally favoured site. However, a private couple have just submitted a plan for 78 houses, 20 retirement apartments, a village hall etc at St John’s Farm, Stuckton Road. A CPRE member has lodged an objection on the grounds that the site is close to the boundary of the National Park, has few dwellings amidst a quite rural area, gets extensively flooded and would impede access to the Forest via footpaths. The other proposed facilities are already well catered for in Fordingbridge itself and to enhance vehicular access would compound the dangerous state of the roads in and around the town.

Finally, at Alderholt an increase of nearly half of the agreed 192 homes is being proposed, totalling 300. Worse still, an alternative scheme is on offer – an increase of up to 3,000 homes – which would make this another dormitory town, with the inhabitants obliged to clog the already unsatisfactory road system en route to Fordingbridge for their retail needs. CPRE Dorset will hopefully monitor and tackle the issues head on.

We need to build volunteer capacity in the group – please see the update on page 11 of Hampshire Views.

Russell Webb
New Forest District Group Coordinator
russellwebb@uwclub.net

Annie Spratt/Unsplash
Children climbing in the New Forest