Lymington Society’s representations at Public enquiry against proposed development of 100 houses near Oakhaven Hospice which will damage the character of Rural Lanes
The Lymington Society took part on Thursday the 20th of June in one of the most important sessions of the current Local Plan Public Examination, which is taking place at Appletree Court, at which the NFDC’s Local Plan which calls for major removal of land from the Green Belt for housing, is being examined by Planning Inspectors.
Under consideration was the allocation of land in Pennington for about 425 homes on two major “Strategic Sites” named Strategic Site 5 (SS 5) – which is on either side of Milford Road near the HCC Amenity Tip entrance, and Strategic Site 6 (SS 6) – which is between Lower Pennington Lane and Ridgeway Lane.
The Society took a major role at the Public Examination, making representations on both proposed sites at the Public Examination in Lyndhurst in front of the two Planning Inspectors who will decide on the soundness of the new NFDC Local Plan
The Society fully understands the need for housing to alleviate the severe housing shortage, and is not now objecting to the numbers being proposed in the Local Plan for Lymington and Pennington. This allocation was originally for 1100 for Lymington alone, which has now been reduced to a more manageable number of 425 following representations from the Lymington Society and others.
The first part of the Public Examination hearing on the 20th of June was concerned with the SS 5 site either side of the Milford Road – near the road to the amenity tip. We asked that both parts of this site be sensitively landscaped to reduce the impact when approaching Lymington from the West and to preserve the views of the Isle of Wight from the Milford Road. This was accepted by the NFDC and is to be written into the conditions for those sites.
However, the Society expressed complete opposition to the proposal for a major new development, which could total well over 120 homes in the Green Belt, on the controversial site around the Oakhaven Hospice – between Lower Pennington Lane and Ridgeway Lane.
Evidence that emerged in a previous session of the Public Examination concerning the Green Belt, revealed how often sites result in significantly more houses than originally proposed. The Society expressed concern that this could happen on this site, especially if the planned open green space is removed from the site, which could allow significantly more houses – possibly as many as 200.
The decision to allocate the SS 6 site was added to the Local Plan at the very last minute without proper prior consultation. This has led to concern locally with 700 residents joining a campaign to oppose this unsuitable site for a major development.
This site has been refused permission for housing at Planning Appeals on several occasions in the past, when Planning Inspectors have ruled in favour of preservation of the Green Belt on this site, which is very near the National Park and the designated nature conservation sites both only a few hundred yards away.
The Society agreed with local pressure group PALLS in expressing surprise that the NFDC had chosen to support removal of this site from the Green Belt for housing.
Summarising the situation Don Mackenzie, speaking for the Society, gave an overview of the fact that despite the detailed appraisal by consultants and NFDC Officers of all the possible sites in the town, the end result was that the most unsuitable site between the rural lanes of Lower Pennington Lane and Ridgeway Lane had been selected for development, which had led to strong objections by PALLS and by the Town Council.
Don Mackenzie went on to describe how the “rural lanes” leading to the proposed development site at SS 6 were specifically protected for their unique rural character in the “Rural Lanes” section of the “Lymington Local Distinctiveness Supplementary Planning Document” agreed by the NFDC in 2013.
Any development of the scale being planned at SS 6, would require upgrading and suburbanisation of the Rural Lanes to carry the large increase in traffic which would inevitably follow such a major development.
These changes would be contrary to the planning guidance for this part of the Town and lead to the loss of the unique character of this area.
Summing up the Society’s evidence Don Mackenzie said:
“The Society is opposed to this proposal for “a minimum of 100 houses” on this beautiful site, which is on the boundary of the National Park and only a few hundred yard from the Solent and the important designated nature conservation areas nearby.
The Society believes that this attractive site coupled with the rural lanes is an important area of Green Belt land which should continue to be protected.
A large development of this site will not be possible without fundamental changes to the surrounding area that will threaten the unique rural character and be against the adopted Local Distinctiveness planning guidance that the Society originally argued to have put in place and has subsequently continued to argue for it to be retained
We hope that the Planning Inspectors will take note of all the arguments that the Society, the Town Council and other local people have made, and reject the removal of this site from the Green Belt and its allocation for a major housing development”
Lymington Society Press Spokesman.