Chairman’s Report for Newsletter Autumn 2006

The last Lymington Society newsletter was produced in the Spring. Since then as ever with the Society much has happened.

Waterford Lane

At the end of May two issues came together. The first was the disquiet amongst the residents of Waterford Lane and the rest of the town about the way in which planning permission had been granted for a large new development by Quantum Homes, which was notorious firstly because the fact of the ring barking of trees by the developers, and secondly for complaints against the then Town Mayor which have subsequently been dealt with by a Local Government Standards Investigation in which he has been exonerated.

Avenue Road Flats

The second was the planning application for a huge block of 29 flats at the junction of Avenue Road and Southampton Road. At that stage there was so much feeling in the Town that, following on the success of a previous public meeting over the Webb Site, the Society’s committee decided to call another public meeting.

Lymington Society on TV

Just prior to the meeting Don Mackenzie had been interviewed for local television and radio which produced considerable interest.

Public Meeting

This took place on the 21st of June in the community centre attended by more than 250 people having to take up a total of three rooms with two rooms linked by loudspeakers and microphones. Those of you who were there will no doubt remember the meeting well, but many of you may not have been able to come. For those of you who have not heard my opening speech a copy is available on the website. Due to some audio problems in one of the rooms I had to restart it halfway through but I made the point to the councillors present that it was probably a good thing for them to hear it twice.

Councillors

The meeting was well attended by District Councillors including Mel Kendall, Jeremy Heron, Tom Russell, Maureen Holding and Paul Hickman together with the Chief of Development Control Chris Elliott. Also present was County Councillor Adrian Evans and Town Councillors Elizabeth Lewis and John Smale. Unfortunately the meeting clashed with the Town Council Planning Meeting that evening.

Residents Speak

After an illustrated presentation by Don Mackenzie the meeting was opened up to contributions from the floor firstly on the planning application process for Waterford Lane and secondly more general comments relating to overdevelopment. There were wide-ranging questions and answers and no subject was out of bounds. Reply by Mel Kendall and Chris Elliott Mel Kendall replied on behalf of the councillors supported by Chris Elliott. Their contributions were well received and Chris Elliott made the point that he had not realised that when developers approach the Hampshire county council regarding highway access prior to drawing up development plans, that Hampshire county council did not pass this information on to NFDC who could take steps to protect trees in advance of potential ring barking by developers. He would take steps to rectify this. Derf Patton as a well-known local nurseryman made the comment that ring barked trees could be saved. For those of you who want to look at the detail of the meeting it was recorded and a full transcript is available to be taken off the website http://www.lymsoc.co.uk

Petition

A petition was circulated at the meeting and afterwards and has now achieved 1425 signatures. It has been presented to the NFDC and Mel Kendall, the leader of the Council, is very keen that there should be a specific meeting to deal with this petition and concerns of other amenity societies and councils in the area. A meeting is taking place at the NFDC offices on the 30th of October, when the petition will be presented to the Council. I am told that the wish will be for the Council to be able to pass this petition on up to the Secretary of State to show the strength of local views on the impact of national planning policies. Our initiative seems to have been followed up by our local communities also protesting at the amount of development in their areas and producing petitions.

Social Events

Social events have continued during the summer and I am very grateful to the Social Committee for the success of these. An ongoing programme is shown elsewhere in this website.

Planning

By the time you read this letter we will have made representations and a planning appeal on the Bath Lodge development in Bath Road, which if it is allowed will have a very detrimental effect on the character of the Bath Road at that point. We are also been involved in the concern over the demolition of a burgage plot wall at 28/29 High St without planning permission and I have given some comments on the importance of burgage plots and burgage plot walls, to the Southampton Evening Echo. Our dialogue with the council over various planning issues is ongoing. The only subject which is almost dormant at the moment is the Webb site redevelopment where the site is going through a change of ownership and at the same time an appeal to change current hotel permission to a care home use which the majority of your committee disagrees with. More and more people are realising that Lymington is under a real threat of significant change and that everything must be done to minimise the effect of change on the town’s character. Whilst obviously new homes are needed there are plenty of sites for these new homes on the Webb Site, the old Hospital Site when it becomes available and other places where dense development is not out of keeping with the locality. The problem is that developers are taking advantage of government directives encouraging density of development, to redevelop existing residential areas which do not immediately need redevelopment.

Support your local Councillor

Apparently the Councillors do not agree with the changes of character but say they need support from the local community to resist such applications. The Society’s membership has increased considerably recently because of new members wishing to be involved in that resistance. Please encourage others to join and pass their names to the Secretary for application forms. Finally your Chairman gained some satisfaction on your behalf when the Quantum Homes developers asked to be introduced at a recent party in the Town. After my initial surprise I was able to react quickly enough to ask: “And which of you ring barked the trees”. After their initial surpri

Clive Sutton

Chairman Lymington Society 

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