Local Distinctiveness South of the High Street

To the south of the High Street, modern Lymington has emerged from several former large estates which dominated much of the the area until the middle of the twentieth century;  Woodside, Fairfield and South Hayes among them.   Many of the avenues connecting the town’s central conservation area to that on its largely nineteenth century south-eastern edge – Church Lane, Waterford Lane, Broad Lane, Belmore Lane, Rooke’s Lane – retain in their names reminders of their origins and their character.   The houses which grew up along and between them as the original estates were sold off reflect the architectural styles of their times, but for the most part share common characteristics of generous spacing and comparatively low height, set among mature green growth and open spaces.   In recent years these characteristics have been to some extent been compromised by modern housing estates with greater density and depressingly uniform appearance.   Two of them (Farnley’s Mead and Grove Place, both built around 1985/6) have matured well and merged into their older surroundings, and others in the Old Orchards area have at least retained a substantial number of mature trees and open spaces.   More recent development has taken a new and unwelcome direction, with the demolition of perfectly sound houses in favour of more numerous, larger, taller and more ostentatious buildings on their former gardens.


Belmore Lane, not long ago described even by a developer as “semi-rural”, was until recently lined by comparatively modest 1½-storey or 2-storey houses most of which were semi-hidden by hedges and trees.  Since 2001 it has come under prolonged attack by developers, and three of its houses have been or are being replaced by 14 flats and 11 other houses, with concomitant intrusions on both the skyline and the former open space.   Several other houses with generous gardens are known to be of interest to developers, but any further development of the kind now in progress will inflict irreversible damage on the character of this lane.


Two offshoots sharing an exit from Belmore Lane are Fairfield Close and Courtenay Place.   Both feature space, low rise buildings, mature trees and greenery in generous gardens.   Fairfield Close is an attractive remnant of the former Fairfield Estate, of which it formed the kitchen garden, and is lined by walls of mostly ancient reclaimed bricks.   It has three eighteenth century buildings which once housed the estate’s stables, coach house and fruit house.   Adjoining the central Conservation Area, it deserves serious consideration for inclusion within it to preserve its mature and pleasant aspect from risk of dense and inappropriate development.   Courtenay Place is by some margin the most attractive of the town’s rather too numerous mock-Georgian terrace developments, being set in mature and spacious grounds and visually discreet.   It could not take further development without losing its essential character.


Further down Belmore Lane away from the town centre, Farnley’s Mead was an estate development of the 1980s consisting of substantial detached houses set in medium-sized plots.   It attracted criticism at the time on account of its perceived higher-than-normal density, but it has matured well and the houses and gardens are uniformly well maintained.


Rooke’s Lane, bordering the northern edge of the extensive Woodside Park, fronts a pleasingly diverse mixture of entirely appropriate modest houses in the style of the mid-20th century, set in generous gardens among mature greenery.   It also gives access to a discreet unsurfaced and unnamed lane just west of Newenham Road, one of several which are a feature of the town, which leads to several attractive houses set in mature and generous gardens typical of the mid-20th century.   Newenham Road and Lockerley Close are more modern, with detached family houses in contemporary styles set in slightly smaller gardens.   Modest infilling might be acceptable if carried out in the same architectural idiom, but the intrusion of brutal dense building blocks such as those imposed on Belmore Lane would destroy the visual balance of this pleasant neighbourhood.


Between Rooke’s Lane and Belmore Road to the north lies an estate laid out along the pattern of roads served by Bitterne Way and Old Farm Walk.   The houses are of the same designs as those which line Daniell’s Walk, suggesting that they were built a tthe same time and by the same builder in the years after the Second World War.   Like those in Daniell’s Walk, many have since been modifed and extended, bringing some pleasing variety to the neighbourhood, but together they have a noticeably different character and distinctiveness which comes from the general absence of large mature trees and the conspicuously neat and high standard of both house and garden maintenance throughout the estate, giving it a strikingly “factory-fresh” appearance.   Some recent tall and dense development in Ravenscourt Road and the newly-created Londesborough Place off Stanford Hill throw this neat appearance into even greater relief.   There has been some infill development which matches the surrounding s in style.   Large-scale dense redevelopment would impose serious damage on the character of this attractive area


All Saints Road is bordered to the north by the extensive housing estates of Vitre Gardens, Old Orchards and Anchorage Way, all typical estates of the late 20th and early 21st century.   No doubt they are all practical and efficient houses, but their visual uniformity and dense spacing are saved from anonymity only by the retention of some mature trees and hedges, and a good measure of open space, which do provide a visual link to the nearby New Forest.   The houses are all likely to undergo incremental change year by year as owners adapt and extend them.   Such changes should be welcomed so long as they are in scale, as they add detail and variation to the dull uniformity of  such large-scale developments.


To the south of All Saints Road, the “Woodside Triangle”, the southernmost neighbourhood of the town bounded by Viney Road, Woodside Lane and All Saints Road itself, abuts the open fields of the New Forest to the south and west.   The triangle’s buildings, set in generous plots among mature trees and shrubs, range from modest 19th-century or older cottages through inconspicuous 1½-storey homes to the substantial modern mid-20th-century 2-storey  houses bordering the unadopted Woodside Avenue.   One attractive aspect of their collective character is that no two are alike but all are complementary.   The parish church of All Saints stands at the north-east corner of the area and the listed Woodside Manor at the southern apex of the triangle.   Several of the houses fronting All Saints Road have in recent years been imaginatively modernised and restored, adding features such as a new crinkle-crankle wall and a thatched annex to the thatched De La Warr House.   The area embodies features which successfully reflect both the historic town to the north and the Forest to the south.  Inappropriate redevelopment here would impose serious injury on the character of the town and its relationship with the Forest.


Church Lane and its southern extension Broad Lane are similar in character to Belmore Lane.   Its northern end in the central conservation area, which once formed the boundary between the Fairfield and Grove estates, is is lined by listed buildings and ancient walls, two of which are of the characteristic serpentine or crinkle-crankle type, which give way to a more open aspect bordered by housed differing widely in style and size, again set among mature trees and greenery.   The houses on the eastern side of the lower Church Lane (south of the Conservation Area), two of them completed quite recently, are all substantial buildings set in comparatively large gardens and well screened from the road by dense hedges.   The plots are known to be of interest to developers, but the destruction of such recent substantial and attractive buildings in pursuit of greater densities would be indefensible on sustainability grounds alone.


Daniell’s Walk (with its offshoot Daniell’s Close), which links the road to Belmore Lane, was at one time a path across the Fairfield Estate but was developed as a housing estate following the sale of the latter in the 1950s.  Its borders feature two massive Monterey pines (a third has recently been felled, creating a substantial gap in the skyline).   Its houses stand in long narrow gardens featuring mature greenery and are variations of a uniform style, some being bungalows and some having 1½ storeys or added loft extensions.   They were originally constructed from common materials with little variation of texture or colour, but many have been extended, re-roofed or otherwise altered and the appearance of the whole is now pleasingly varied.   Extensive redevelopment would seriously threaten the character of the whole unless it were of similar style, a successful example of which may be seen on the north side of the road near its western end.


Broad Lane and its several offshoots feature a range of buildings from the large modern estates off the Orchards through the Edwardian development  of Burrard Closeand the substantial modern houses of Tranmere Close to the low-rise houses of widely varying ages and styles fronting the road itself, all set in mature greenery.  Some of the offshoot lanes, such as Bingham Drive, Ambleside Road and Goldmead Close, serve small estate developments all of which probably took shape following the sale of the Fairfield Estate in 1950.   The buildings are of fairly uniform mid-20th-century style and some stand in what today are seen as generous plots.    Though perfectly serviceable, they are in no way distinctive within the character of the wider town and could accept redevelopment as opportunity arises.   A recent attempt to replace a single house at the juction of Bingham Drive and Chrch Lane with a terrace development was rejected as inappropriate and has not been renewed.


Broad Lane has one unnamed, unsurfaced offshoot lane, immediately north of the Orchards estate, in the manner of that described earlier off Rooke’s Lane.   It has no name, but serves several diverse and attractive houses as far as its head, which backs on to Pyrford Lodge, off Belmore Lane to the west.   Like its peer lanes elsewhere in the town,, it contribute a pleasant rural feel to the local character which would be destroyed by dense redevelopment.


Waterford Lane, with its offshoot Waterford Close, was until recently another pleasant green corridor between Church Lane and Stanley Road, lined at its northern end by closely-spaced two-and three-storey houses set in generous gardens with mature greenery.   That character has however been considerably altered by recent planning approvals, which have approved the demolition of five serviceable two-storey houses and their replacement by 22 taller (2 storeys plus attic), tightly packed and in some cases ostentatious new dwellings (the 14 terrace houses in Abbots Brook, for example, featuring a bizarre orange brick which has no equivalent anywhere else in the town) which together form an unwelcome visual assault on the integrity of the area.  Towards its southern end, the character of the lane changes as it merges with Brook Road, where the buildings are smaller and more tightly packed in the manner of an unpretentious seaside town.   This group belongs to the Queen Katherine Road group described later.


Skirting the southern boundary of the Conservation Area eastwards from Church lane, the 1980s development of  South Grove features a group of substantial houses set in comparatively small plots among mature trees and greenery.   The houses (three recent additions are nearing completion) have matured well and merged with the character of the Conservation Area to the north.   A case can be made for their inclusion in that Area.   The contiguous commercial site immediately to the east, currently occupied by Travis Perkins but earmarked for housing should it become vacant, will need careful development if the result is not to contrast uncomfortably with its neighbours.


Queen Katherine Road and its close parallel neighbour Bath Road both serve to connect the town centre Conservation Area to the Kings Saltern Conservation Area, along the line of the river’s west bank.   Their character is markedly different to that of the lanes further to the west.   The substantial bulk of the Berthon boatyard and the smaller Sanders sail loft are prominent immediately south of the central Conservation Area, with a few substantial detached houses fronting the northern end of Queen Katherine Road where it joins Nelson Place.   The domestic architecture immediately south of these is dominated by buildings between the roads which are instantly recognisable as being of the uniform, nationwide semi-detached council house style of the 1930s and 1940s.   Most of these houses are now privately owned and some have undergone extension and alteration, thereby introducing some welcome visual variety.   A few, however, appear to have been neglected, detracting from the appearance of the whole.   Most have comparatively long but narrow gardens which could accept development on an appropriate scale.


The character of the Bath Road/Queen Katherine Road corridor changes to the south, becoming more tree-lined and featuring mainly detached houses of varying designs in larger gardens.   Solent Avenue is densely tree-lined throughout, its buildings standing well back from the road, with a character of its own as it leads down to the northern edge of the Kings Saltern Conservation Area at the Recreation Ground.


Brook Road, Spring Road, Westfield Road north of the Conservation Area and Stanley Road all feature closely-spaced, unpretentious houses built over a long period starting probably in the mid-19th century and continuing with replacements and infills to the present day.   The area has a character of its own, distinct from that of the rest of the town and not unlike that of a working west country port town, most of the houses having the air of having been built for those who earned their living from the sea.   Exceptions are Springfield Close and Mayflower Close, both of which have modern detached houses in generous plots similar to those found elsewhere in the town, though with less surrounding green growth.   The area as a whole provides an orderly transition between the leafier lanes to the north and west and the maritime character of the contiguous Conservation Area to the south.   Sympathetic redevelopment would be possible so long as it preserved the subtly varying styles which make the area distinct.


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