Society urges NFDC to get tough with Redrow

Apologies, members, that this should have been posted in November when it was hot of the press. It’s still important though, so here it is:

Lymington Society Urges the NFDC To Get Tough with Redrow Over Construction Of Bridge Linking To The Railway Station and Delivery Of The Community Benefits On The Site

The Lymington Society has today announced that the Chairman of the Society, Mr. Clive Sutton has recently written to the New Forest District Council Planning Officers calling for them to take a much tougher line with Redrow over their failure to complete the pedestrian bridge and lift linking the development to the railway station sooner and their failure to complete the wide range of community facilities and benefits originally promised for the development.

The construction of the Redrow site has been extremely protracted with very slow progress being made for several years. This has resulted in a far longer delay than originally anticipated in reaching the original target of 75 sales on the site and the subsequent construction of the bridge linking the site to the town

To the dismay of the Society and of residents living on the site, who were promised construction of the bridge a long time ago, the NFDC agreed earlier this year to give Redrow even longer to complete the bridge and lift due to apparent difficulties in negotiating with the rail authorities.

In addition, the Society is concerned that five years after planning permission was granted, there are no signs that the wider community benefits promised at the time of the original application such as the riverside walk and the “Cultural Quarter” have been delivered.

Speaking about the letter from the Society sent to the NFDC Planners, Don Mackenzie Press Spokesman said:

 It is extremely disappointing that five years after the planning permission was granted for this major development, there is no sign that the promised bridge linking the site to the town has been started let alone “substantially completed” which the company promised would be the case by the time that the company had sold 125 units

 Now that the company, according to its own advertising, has reached the sales target of 70% of the dwellings on the site sold some time ago, it is clear that the target of 125 sold units must be fast approaching.

 Early residents on the site, who were originally sold premises on the site on the basis that a bridge would be built no later than the occupation of the 75th dwelling, have been badly let down by the developers and have complained to the Society about this.

 So far there appeared to be no preparations being made for work to start on the bridge and we now urge the NFDC to ensure that they urgently look to enforce the’ “schedule of variation” which they agreed with Redrow in May this year, which stated that the bridge and the lift had to be “substantially completed no later than the occupation of the 125th Open Market Dwelling.

  Bearing in mind that the planning permission for this site was originally given in 2012, it is surely unacceptable that Redrow had not pursued the negotiations with the rail authorities with sufficient vigor in order to come to an agreement to build the bridge and lift much sooner.

  We would urge the NFDC to ensure that they monitor Redrow’s sales targets and negotiations with the railway authorities, to ensure that they comply with their obligation to have “substantially completed” the construction of the footbridge and the lift in accordance with the revised agreement as soon as possible

 We also urge the NFDC to urgently ensure that other conditions related to the Redrow site which are of benefit to the community are now completed.

 The community was originally promised in the developers “Community Involvement Summary”, a wide range of community benefits with the aim of creating a “Cultural Quarter” and the site becoming a “destination” site with a gallery, retail units and a high-quality restaurant. Also included was a riverside walk, a playground, and a large amount of public open space.

 The Society urges the NFDC to ensure that these community benefits are now delivered without further delay. The extremely protracted pace of the work of the site had delayed the completion of facilities that the residents of the site and the wider community should have been enjoying a long time ago.

 Finally, the Master Landscaping Plan shows considerable planning of trees and shrubs to the whole site, including the side of the site facing the town and the railway station. As yet, the Society sees little evidence of this planting on this aspect of the site with the large plant holders on the walkway above the car park and facing the town, remaining largely unplanted and neglected despite people having moved into these units for over a year.

 Planting of some mature trees on this level could go a long way to soften this aspect of the site which is the least attractive side of the whole development and which dominates the appearance of the development from the town.

 The Society requests that the NFDC use whatever enforcement powers that they have to ensure that these many aspects of the management of the completion of the site is given the greatest priority with the urgent aim of delivering the bridge and the many promised community benefits, which some 5 years after planning permission was given and after four years of construction, are still not being delivered.

 

Bus Station Appeals Dismissed

The two appeals by Renaissance Retirement Ltd & the Go Ahead Group PLC against the refusal of their planning applications have been dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate. Both applications were refused for reasons relating to their effects on the Lymington Conservation Area, the setting of nearby listed buildings and the absence of a mechanism to secure appropriate contributions to the provision of affordable housing.

The Lymington Society is pleased to note the decision of the planning inspector in relation to the Lymington high Street bus station site.

The Planning Inspector agreed with the views of the Lymington Society and the NFDC Conservation Officer in stating: The development as a whole would appear to be out of scale with its surroundings and: I conclude that the proposals would fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the Lymington conservation area.

Commenting on the decision, the Society Chairman, Clive Sutton, said that the Society looked forward to further proposals being brought forward which will create a scheme to merge retail with residential use with the possibility of facilities which would continue to benefit bus passengers in the future.

He said that the Inspector had recognised the considerable inconvenience caused by the closure of the bus station, although, because these issues were matters for the highway authority and the bus operators, she could not address them in relation to the redevelopment of the site. The Society hope that in any future scheme these considerable concerns, which were forcefully put forward at the appeal by various bus users, will be taken account of.

The Society look forward to commenting constructively on any further plans that are put forward for this important site and are always ready to engage with developers at a very early stage in any potential scheme.

 

Local Solar Farm Talk a great success

Nov 21st – “Local Solar Farm for Local People”

We were delighted to welcome Anthony Woolhouse, a founder of the West Solent Solar Cooperative, who talked about the creation of our own local Solar Farm in Pennington. The Cooperative also works with local groups, especially schools, and is active in a number of funded environmental projects. Anthony gave us a fascinating insight into Lymington’s part in a global movement for greener energy.

Anthony’s talk was followed by an active Q & A session, and he told me he appreciated the quality of the questions from our members, and our evident interest in this local green initiative. The solar farm produces enough power for around 700 homes, and all gest consumed within a few miles, so it truly serves Lymington and Pennington.

 

Message from Clive Sutton re Important Local Planning Development

Dear Lymington Society Member

I am taking the trouble to write you specifically because of the important developments which are taking place in the future of Lymington and Pennington through the Town Council’s consultation document for a neighbourhood plan.

The Lymington Society were instrumental in initially persuading the Town Council to have a neighbourhood plan. This is now being put in hand at the same time as the New Forest District Council had to make allocations of substantial additional housing to the Lymington area amounting to approximately 1100 more houses up to 2036.

The Lymington Society were always told that any such substantial increase could largely be accommodated in the Waterside area but it seems much of that area is not available because of safety factors connected with the military uses and refinery uses of that area. However there is still the possibility that a significant part of that area can be used for development which would relieve the pressure on Lymington and the other villages on the southern part of the New Forest District Council area.

A very helpful consultation document has been put out by the Lymington and Pennington town Council for the Neighbourhood Plan and this is available online and I recommend that is read by members of Society who are interested in the future of the Town. The options for future development clearly set out involving the town centre brownfield sites, a large area on the north of the town between Buckland and Ramley Road and various other surrounding pieces of land which could be made available for development being largely greenbelt sites.

The Society’s Committee have given this some thought and are initially hopeful that the number of houses to be allocated the Town eventually will be less than 500 over this period.

The committee considering their own detailed response which will be submitted in the meantime drawled the consultation to members attention so that members can review the councils analysis of the neighbourhood plan and respond to it. It can be found online at LymingtonandPenningtonplan.org.UK

The main consultation itself is in the form of an online response, or a paper response which can be obtained from the website or from the Town Hall.

I urge you to look at this and hopefully respond in detail to show your interest in the future of the town and contribute to it as a member of the Lymington society.

The consultation needs to be in by Monday 17th July and so please look at this as quickly as possible.

Yours sincerely

Clive Sutton

Chairman Lymington Society

Lymington Society AGM and Talk

March 22nd AGM Fuller Hall 6.30pm for 7.00pm

exbury egg
After the business part of the meeting we will have a presentation by Mark Drury
from SPUD. This local organisation Space, Place Making and Urban Design are
responsible for The Observatory and Exbury Egg and will be involved in helping
us project manage our Heritage Lottery bid for the restoration of The Burrard
Neale Monument .