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Six applications in the hands of planners that could transform town
THE landscape of Ringwood could be changed forever, if all the planning applications currently on the table are approved.
Six sets of plans for major landmarks and historically important sites in the town are now in the hands of planners.
They include about 200 homes, offices, commercial units and a multi-million pound arts centre.
- The £4.5million arts centre is proposed for where the old Greyfriars Activity Centre is now, and is being discussed by New Forest District Council today. The matter had not been decided as the Journal went to press.
- Plans for 175 homes off Crow Lane and Crow Arch Lane are set to be decided in the New Year.
- Rupert Morrall has put forward a plan to turn a listed, Victorian building, home to the former Ringwood Social Club on 17-19 West Street, into a six flats, with one terrace of four, three-storey houses. The date for the decision is set for February 12.
- CurrentAssetLtd has submitted an application to turn the former district council offices on Christchurch Road into a block of 12 flats, one terrace of three houses plus bins and cycle stores and parking and landscaping. Those plans will be decided on January 8.
- There are two applications for the site of a former engineering works, Wellworthy's, which has stood empty for nearly 14 years.
While so many plans to transform areas of the town might mean regeneration to some, some have attracted angry objections.
For Currentasset this is their second application after the first scheme to create shops and homes was turned down, 13-2, to the relief of residents who claimed the plan would be out of character and cause traffic chaos.
Wellworthy’s, which was a major employer in the town for decades before shutting down in 1991, could become a hive of commercial activity and lead to new jobs if plans get the go-ahead.
Colten Care has applied to the district council to turn part of the 17.5-acre site on Christchurch Road into a development for industrial, storage and business comprising two office buildings, one warehouse plus cycle and bins store.
The second application is from Eberspacher, which wants to turn 17.5 acres into a site for business, industry and storage. A decision is likely to be made by Christmas.
Wellworthy Piston Rings opened there in 1943 and produced parts for cars and aircraft for 48 years. But since it closed, the land has lain dormant.
However, the plan which has sparked the most outrage is for one of the biggest housing developments the town has seen for decades at Crow Arch Lane and Crow Lane.
The scheme, drawn up by Linden Homes, includes up to 175 homes, of which up to 50 per cent will be affordable, 1.5 hectares of employment land, a nursing home and children’s nursery, fitness centre, restaurant, and open space, with access from Crow Arch Lane and Crow Lane.
Residents have reacted strongly against the plans, forming their own campaign group and are claiming if the development goes ahead it will cause traffic chaos and exacerbate the infrastructure of the school’s and doctor surgeries.
Councillor Paul Vickers, New Forest District Council's portfolio holder for planning and transportation, said: “We want to ensure that new development is well designed and contributes positively to the local community.
“We have been working on site allocations for our local plan for over two years and in that time there have been a number of public consultations. Some of these sites are now coming forward.
“In addition, earlier this year we adopted a planning guidance document for Ringwood. The guidance is aimed at ensuring new development respects and enhances local character and distinctiveness, and will need to be considered in the determination of all planning applications for the town.”
Ringwood councillor and chairman of the district council, Christine Ford said: “I am very keen on the arts centre scheme. Ringwood has been waiting for something like this for 42 years. There has been much good will and effort from all the people involved in this project and they really deserve it to come to fruition.
“I think the Crow plans are something Ringwood needs, especially for the young people in this town who want to stay in this town.”
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