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.