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Houses on historic site get green light
DEVELOPERS have won their battle to build two houses and create three flats on a historic plot in the heart of Fordingbridge .
Landowner Colin Andrews wanted to convert the top floor of the Rose and Alexander hardware shop in Bridge Street into three flats, and demolish old outbuildings behind it to build houses.
But New Forest District Council planning officers felt the demolition of the red brick building at the back, believed to have been built in the late 19th century, would go against the authority’s conservation ideals.
The proposals went to the planning committee, where the members’ vote was split down the middle, with the chairman’s casting vote seeing them refused.
Now a planning inspector has overturned the refusal on appeal, saying that he felt maintaining the building would be too difficult given its negligible historic value.
He approved plans to build a two-storey home in place of the red brick building and a single-storey house on the site of a corrugated building at the back, plus three flats on top of the shop – the only economically viable scheme possible at the site, according to planning consultant Jerry Davies.
Inspector Les Greenwood said in his report: “The council considers the brick building to be of local architectural importance, but it is not picked out as such in the conservation area appraisal.”
Mr Greenwood noted that the plan would “broadly replicate the form and scale of the existing building” and that the planned house “would enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area”.
Given the site’s proximity to the River Avon, the inspector said any build would have to be adequately protected from flooding, and that bike spaces should be included “in the interests of sustainability”.
The work must start on the site within three years, but must not start until details of joinery, windows and doors, eaves, fascias and brickwork are agreed between applicants Sheerin Bettle and Associates and the district council.