Society urges NFDC to get tough with Redrow

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.

 

Message from Clive Sutton re Important Local Planning Development

Dear Lymington Society Member

I am taking the trouble to write you specifically because of the important developments which are taking place in the future of Lymington and Pennington through the Town Council’s consultation document for a neighbourhood plan.

The Lymington Society were instrumental in initially persuading the Town Council to have a neighbourhood plan. This is now being put in hand at the same time as the New Forest District Council had to make allocations of substantial additional housing to the Lymington area amounting to approximately 1100 more houses up to 2036.

The Lymington Society were always told that any such substantial increase could largely be accommodated in the Waterside area but it seems much of that area is not available because of safety factors connected with the military uses and refinery uses of that area. However there is still the possibility that a significant part of that area can be used for development which would relieve the pressure on Lymington and the other villages on the southern part of the New Forest District Council area.

A very helpful consultation document has been put out by the Lymington and Pennington town Council for the Neighbourhood Plan and this is available online and I recommend that is read by members of Society who are interested in the future of the Town. The options for future development clearly set out involving the town centre brownfield sites, a large area on the north of the town between Buckland and Ramley Road and various other surrounding pieces of land which could be made available for development being largely greenbelt sites.

The Society’s Committee have given this some thought and are initially hopeful that the number of houses to be allocated the Town eventually will be less than 500 over this period.

The committee considering their own detailed response which will be submitted in the meantime drawled the consultation to members attention so that members can review the councils analysis of the neighbourhood plan and respond to it. It can be found online at LymingtonandPenningtonplan.org.UK

The main consultation itself is in the form of an online response, or a paper response which can be obtained from the website or from the Town Hall.

I urge you to look at this and hopefully respond in detail to show your interest in the future of the town and contribute to it as a member of the Lymington society.

The consultation needs to be in by Monday 17th July and so please look at this as quickly as possible.

Yours sincerely

Clive Sutton

Chairman Lymington Society

Lymsoc response to NFDC Local Plan proposals

New Forest District Council Local Plan Review – Consultation

Submission of the Lymington Society

The Lymington Society Accepts the Need for Step Change in Construction of New Dwellings but Rejects NFDC Draft Suggestions for 2960 Homes in the South Coastal Region and Huge Incursions into Lymington and District Greenbelt

In the past both Local Plan house building policies in the NFDC area and across the country have often tried to reduce to the minimum the number of house built in established conurbations and in the countryside and local amenity Societies such as the Lymington Society have resisted the building of large numbers of new dwelling both in towns and especially in the countryside.

We are now however faced with the new reality that the country simply hasn’t been building enough houses and the community needs to re-examine its previous reluctance to contemplate new housing on a large scale and embrace the fact that for the sake of future generations we need large numbers of new homes.

It is from this viewpoint that the Society has carefully examined the new local plan review consultation document to try and ensure that a balance is struck between welcoming new housing developments but being conscious of the effects on the town and the region of very large scale redevelopment.

The Society is conscious of the difficulty faced by the NFDC policy and planning officers as they tried to find sufficient land to meet the huge demand that their surveys have identified will be required between now and 2036 which total some 12,000 dwellings.

The New Forest District Council area consists of a thin strip around the outside of the huge area of the National Park and the NFDC Officers have assesses that for  various reasons much of this land is not suitable for redevelopment. This is apparently for reasons such as being close to the National Park or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty etc. or because of closeness to potential explosive or safety risks such as at Marchwood military base and Fawley refinery.

The Society has previously had private briefings from planning officials at the NFDC who indicated that due to the extensive legally constituted greenbelt in this area and the poor communications which see large numbers of vehicles having to travel across the open forest, Lymington would not be required to accommodate more than maybe 400 to 500 homes in the area in this review ordered by the government.

This more detailed assessment of the land available in the NFDC area for redevelopment reveals that there simply isn’t the room in the area for anything like the 12,000 homes that the housing needs survey suggests will be required without major incursions into the greenbelt around Lymington, Milford on Sea, Everton and Hoddle where upwards of 2,000 new homes are suggested as being achievable, all of which will be in the greenbelt surrounding these communities.

However this is only the first round of planning where sites which can accommodate 100 or more houses have been identified. The next phase of the review will be identifying sites where less than hundred homes can be accommodated, which will without doubt add substantially to the over 2,000 potential housing plots already identified in Lymington and surrounding villages.

This compares for comparison with only 900 homes being suggested the area around Totton.

Having given the draft proposals very careful thought and mindful of the need to build sufficient houses to allow future generations to enjoy the benefits that comes from owning your own home bought at a reasonable price, the Society does not feel that this proposal is equitable for Lymington and surrounding villages which appear to be carrying the lion’s share of the development proposals for the New Forest District Council area as a whole.

Society does not feel that the lack of other alternative sites in the very crowded NFDC region justifies such a huge extension of housing around Lymington and local villages and especially with virtually all of this housing being built in the greenbelt.

Despite the government’s decision at the beginning of this process to continue the protection afforded to greenbelt land the NFDC is suggesting that legal precedents allow development in greenbelt land in exceptional circumstances.

These exceptions were used for instance to allow a small development of housing on the outskirts of Beaulieu village some years ago. This sort of exception would be generally agreed as reasonable but not the wholesale abandonment of greenbelt protection in this area for so many new dwellings.

NFDC attempts to portray much of the greenbelt as either degraded or poorly performing in order to justify such a huge number of new houses being built in the greenbelt is not accepted by many people who live in this area and the outlying villages and the Society urges the NFDC to reconsider these proposals

Summary

The Society has real sympathy with the need to increase housing allocation throughout the country and realises that previous resistance to accept housing has to be a thing of the past if future generations are to have somewhere to live at a reasonable price.

The Society was prepared to accept that large numbers of new homes would be needed in this area and that this could make a contribution to helping local people find a home without having to move out of the district. This could also bring much needed affordable housing

However the new NFDC proposals for this huge numbers of houses into the area around Lymington and local villages which is vastly in excess of what was previously expected, is a step too far and will really affect Lymington and other communities nearby in an unacceptable fashion. The fact that the government is restricting the percentage of these new homes set aside for “affordable homes” to only 20% is also very disappointing.

Such a large increase in population in the area will add to the difficulties already experienced by local people in terms of parking and many other aspects of life including schools and health facilities and will radically alter the character of the Town and local villages.

Due to the impossibility of building new roads or improve communications through Lyndhurst or through the New Forest National Park the difficulties that residents already experience will almost certainly increase and could lead to more congestion through Lyndhurst, Brocklehurst level crossing and over the open forest to Beaulieu and the Waterside.

In addition to the large numbers of homes proposed for this area, which the Society finds extremely excessive, the other major concern is the fact that all this extra housing will be in the greenbelt. Whilst accepting that in exceptional circumstances the use of greenbelt land should be considered, the Society does not accept some much of the greenbelt in this area should be taken for large number of houses.

The Society is unhappy with attempts to portray the greenbelt land in this area as “underperforming” or in some way poor quality in an attempt to justify all this extra housing going into the greenbelt.

The Society also feels that the consultation is also disingenuous in saying that the reduction of the greenbelt proposed is only a small percentage of the total greenbelt in the District. The fact is that around the individual conurbations in the South Coast around Lymington and surrounding villages the percentage last will be much greater if these proposals go ahead.

It may well be that simply isn’t enough suitable land in the district council area to meet the needs of the local population to the level insisted on by the government and that the NFDC will have to make representations to government to seek exemption from these new planning laws.

However a lack of suitable land in the NFDC area should not be used as an excuse to build so many new homes around Lymington and local villages nearby.

We urge the NFDC to re-examine its assessment of land elsewhere in the District and see if after they can’t find sufficient land to avoid imposing so many houses to the greenbelt land around Lymington.

If the level of house building needed to satisfy the new housing requirement cannot be accommodated in the district without deep inroads into the greenbelt the NFDC may have to advise the government that due to its particular geography an exception needs to be made to reduce the number of dwelling able to be accommodated.

 

Don Mackenzie

Lymington Society Press Spokesman

01590 678087

07860 106120

Town Council rejects Alexandra Road development proposal

27 Nov 2014; land North of Alexandra Road
Lymington & Pennington Town Council last night recommended refusal of an application by Pennyfarthing Homes for a development of 95 new dwellings on a site north of Alexandra Road, which was released from the Greenbelt in order to provide much needed new homes, of which 70% are intended to be ‘affordable’ homes. At a meeting with residents, chaired by Cllr Rogerson, the council reached a unanimous recommendation to refuse the application following discussion and after hearing objections which Mrs Jill Vallance summarised on behalf of local residents. Nic King of the Lymington Society added that the proposed development failed on policy grounds namely it was out of character with its surroundings, had inadequate SANGS (accessible natural green space) provision and was not a ‘sustainable’ development. The developers, Pennyfarthing Homes, chose not to speak at the meeting other than to answer residents’ questions.

The deadline to make a comment on this proposed development is: 03.12.2014.
You can submit a comment online to NFDC at: http://planweb3.newforest.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=makeComment&keyVal=_NEWFO_DCAPR_189949.

ENDS.

Travis Perkins site – update 09.10.2013

TPNFDC has refused a proposed development of 25 dwellings (application 13/10709). Main reasons for refusal: inappropriate to its context, fails to respond positively to local distinctiveness, unacceptably poor design quality. See full NFDC reasons for refusal: http://web3.newforest.gov.uk/ConnectAcolaidWebExternal/GetDocumentContentExternal.aspx?documentId=658423&filename=Decision+Notice.pdf

However, at the same time as submitting 13/10709, the developer’s agent submitted a similar proposal for a development of 23 dwellings without the 2 bungalows (13/10710). We objected on similar grounds i.e. failure to respect local distinctiveness, over-development and concerns about proposed access road from Grove Road.

Status: NFDC says they intend to advertise amended plans with a view to taking the application to November Committee (email from NFDC case officer 20.09.2013). See revised plans:
http://web3.newforest.gov.uk/ConnectAcolaidWebExternal/SearchDocumentsExternal.aspx?cpAcolaid+System=DC&cpAcolaid+Reference=13/10710.