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‘Anger and distress’ over plans near historic lane
RESIDENTS of a historic lane in the heart of Ringwood say they are angry and distressed by proposals to site a large development on their doorsteps.
Developers want to build shops, topped by eight flats with three houses at the rear on the former town council site bordering Woodstock Lane and Christchurch Road, and comments on the plans are only being accepted until tomorrow, sparking a plea for more people to protest.
Neighbours say the site, where several businesses have closed down nearby, is unsuitable for retail – a view backed by the town council and the Ringwood Society – and that the development would change the character of a street which has a history dating back to mediaeval times. It is also in a conservation area.
One resident says he has already been told by an estate agent the plans will wipe £150,000 off the value of his home and another says she is in tears whenever she thinks of it going ahead.
They are all concerned too, that the proposed supermarket would only have 11 parking spaces, and another 11 for the flats and houses, and that shoppers and flat dwellers would try to park in their gravel lane, which is not maintained by the council.
Woodstock Lane resident Tim Ward said: “We are being told that Tesco Express or similar will take up that unit.
“We are five minutes’ walk away from five petrol stations, two major supermarkets and lots of other shops selling groceries, we don’t need more shops – it’s just a nonsense.
“We’re very concerned about the effect it will have on us. It’s acknowledged to be a street of importance with lots of Edwardian character properties and mediaeval roots.
“There is merit in all buildings around here apart from the fire station and the council, yet they want to replace one ugly building with another ugly building.
“It’s going to alter the whole area, and is upsetting so many people.”
Mr Ward says local company Churchill Retirement Living put in a bid for retirement flats on the site – a plan “which sounds great” – but did not win the bid.
The new building would also be four metres closer to a property on Christchurch Road than the current one, leading to fears homes will be devalued.
Resident Dick Sheerin said: “Previously retail premises in this area have failed due to the lack of trade and shop units have been left empty for considerable periods and eventually have either been converted to offices or are still vacant.
“The lack of business suffered by these shops is compounded by the loss of the council offices, which gave a focus to the area and attracted passing trade.”
Christabelle Moore of Woodstock Lane said: “It would have an awful impact on my house and life in this road.
“As a mother of two children, I am worried that extra traffic could potentially not only be very dangerous but also noisy, and also cause even more wear and tear to the lane, which at some points is already very bad.”
The plan goes to the town council for discussion on September 6 and the district council a week later.
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