A DECISION on plans for 80 new homes on a former RAF camp was set to be made today.

The outline plans for Merryfield Park on Derritt Lane in Bransgore, are being discussed by New Forest District Council’s planning committee.

The site has proved a contentious one over the years, with numerous enforcements served on buildings there by the council.

But the revised plans for 80 homes, with half of them ‘affordable’, seem to be acceptable subject to a list of issues that would need to be ironed out, such as building design and materials, and the not insignificant risk of contamination still lingering on the site – it previously had an armoury, fire station, fuel store and compound, central heating station, sub-station and sewage plant on it.

Some of the historic, if tatty and ugly, buildings would be retained and the tower housing the airfields museum would stay. Most significantly, the homes would all be sited over one side, leaving plenty of open space and keeping much of the area’s original character intact.

The plans have received 37 letters of support, from people who would like to see something more attractive on the “eyesore” site and want affordable homes in the area, and 16 letters of objection, saying it’s overdevelopment and would be a burden on local infrastructure. The park currently contains 91 buildings of various sizes, laid out in rows of regimented huts to the east and other buildings scattered around the rest of the site.

The outline application seeks to demolish all but 11 of the buildings.

Previous applications to build homes there have been refused on the basis it was green belt land, however lawful use of the land includes war games and some of the buildings have been granted office and storage permission.

The officer dealing with the application says the plans are “a form of redevelopment that would not have a greater impact on the openness of the green belt than the existing buildings, and the increased opportunities for community and recreation uses of the land that the development would give substantial benefits to the character and appearance of the green belt”.

Of the 40 affordable homes, 24 would be social rented and 16 for intermediate housing - affordable options to help first time buyers.

The planning officer concluded: “The proposed development would significantly alter the character of the area from a range of 91 former run down military buildings to a residential and business development as well as providing a significant area of open space.”