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‘Dumping ground’ has inspector visit
AN inspector is set to visit Fordingbridge on Monday, to see the sites planned for 110 homes.
New Forest District Council has identified sites in Fordingbridge and Sandleheath for development in its local plan, sparking protests from residents and councillors, who accused the authority of using the town as a “dumping ground”.
The strategy is now being scrutinised by a planning inspector, who will visit number 40A West Street to look at the site for 100 homes and land off Jubilee Crescent, pencilled in for 10 homes, at 4pm.
He will also investigate plans for more units at Sandleheath Industrial Estate in the plan, which covers the next 15 years.
There will be no discussion at the short visit, but a public session is being held at the New Forest District Council offices at Lyndhurst on Tuesday at 1.30pm for inspector Simon Emerson to consider whether there are any unacceptable impacts of the plans and whether there are “any suitable and available alternative sites which would have less impact and comparable or greater benefits”.
He will also consider whether the settlement boundary for 100 homes to the rear of 40A West Street should be changed.
At Jubilee Crescent, he will consider if there are any unacceptable impacts, whether there is adequate highway access and whether access to the site would need third party land.
He will also consider any other constraints which would make that site unviable.
The inspection comes after town councillor Alan Lewenden told the Journal that if the district council’s proposed sites and development management plan is adopted it could ruin the town.
He said: “While I fully accept a need for affordable housing in Fordingbridge, I suspect that the affordable houses will still be beyond the means of our young families, and the social housing proposed may well see a repeat of the last two such developments, where socially deprived families from other parts of the New Forest District Council area were moved into Fordingbridge away from the nearby support of their families to a small town where their prospects of employment were reduced.
“Add to this an increased strain upon our schools and health services and we can see this plan is frankly barking.
“The Government set Hampshire County Council house building targets and they set a target for the district, whether the housing was of the right type or not.
“The district council then did its usual thing and dumped as many houses as possible on the north west frontier towns of Fordingbridge and Ringwood.”
In Ringwood there are plans to build 150 homes and find additional commercial land.
Rob Burrows, who lives in Fordingbridge’s Jubilee Crescent, said: “For one of my neighbours, the plan means the pavement will be only three feet from his house.
“Many of us are going on Tuesday, but I fear the meeting has not been widely publicised.”
In Mr Burrows’ letter to the district council, he said: “Jubilee Crescent is already hemmed in by dense residential development on two sides and a major industrial estate on the third side.
“The open space being considered for development acts as an important environmental buffer and it is home to a variety of wildlife.
“Moreover, planning applications in the past to build on this site have already been rejected, the inspector of an appeal was adamant that there should be no further building in this area.”
The inspector will reveal his findings in due course.