The Lymington Society has had a meeting with Desmond Swayne, MP for the New Forest West constituency, which includes Lymington, to ask for his help with the seemingly everlasting delay in completing the railway bridge linking the Redrow Lymington Shores site into the town at the railway station and completing the many other community facilities originally promised, including the riverside walk
This follows confirmation from a representative of South Western Railway, at a meeting held in the town last week, that the latest plans produced by Redrow for the bridge are still not acceptable and that Redrow will have to go back to the drawing board before further progress can be made.
Almost 6 years since the original planning permission for the site was given, we still appear to be many months away from a resolution which will allow the bridge to go ahead, despite an extension given by the NFDC planners of almost a year which allowed Redrow to delay construction of the bridge until they had sold 125 units. This target is apparently almost in reach and it seems likely that once again the NFDC are considering granting Redrow yet more time to get the work done with no start date in view.
The remaining issues appear to be:
- the layout of the car parking spaces in the station to facilitate the repositioning of the bike rack away from the construction area for the bridge and to allow for the wider spaces now required for public car parking.
- the insistence by Hampshire County Council that the pedestrian bridge and the disabled lift bridge are separate so that the council does not become responsible for the upkeep of the more complicated lift facilities.
The Society is also concerned that this unique opportunity to reorganise the car parking at the station is also takes into account the desirability of radically improving the bus service to and from the station with the aim of creating a real transport hub for the town. If this means fewer car parking spaces on the station forecourt, with Redrow donating spaces on the Lymington Shores site instead, then that would be a good result for the town and for local bus users who currently are poorly served by the new arrangements made following the closure of the bus station in the centre of town.
Speaking after the meeting this Saturday with Desmond Swayne, which took place at the station in Lymington, Lymington Society Press Spokesman Don Mackenzie said:
It really is ridiculous that almost 6 years after outline permission was given for a development which included a vital bridge needed to link the development into the town, we appear to be no nearer to Redrow even applying for planning permission for the bridge
Despite assurances from Redrow that they are now giving this their full attention and that they expect to have designs available for inspection within the next couple of months, following which they will apply for permission, we are tempted to say we have heard this all before.
From comments made by representatives of South Western Railway at a public meeting in the town last week, it would seem that the current plans are still not acceptable and have not yet been agreed by the train company, or signed off by the national rail safety regulators
We have asked Mr Swayne to kindly use his good offices to try and bang heads together to get this important link designed, approved, and built without further delay.
We also hope that if major changes are to be made to the parking at the station, the needs of bus users are also taken into account to allow the development of a better bus service from the station and the development of a true transport hub