MEMBERS of the Fordingbridge Society are on the brink of launching a campaign over plans to build 100 new homes in the town and extend Sandleheath Industrial Estate.
New Forest District Council 's Proposed Sites and Development Management Development Plan Document details plans to build 100 new homes on land east of Whitsbury Road and build more units at Sandleheath Industrial Estate over the next 15 years.
But the plan has come under fire from residents, members of Fordingbridge Town Council and Fordingbridge Society, who claim the town’s infrastructure would come under intolerable pressure.
President of the Fordingbridge Society Edgar Moss said: “The extra traffic, including big articulated lorries, can only get to and from these sites by driving through Fordingbridge High Street. Not a good idea.
“We think that 100 homes at Whitsbury Road without a supporting infrastructure is crazy. We have put our concerns to New Forest District Council and are awaiting their response.
“Our primary concern is the traffic generated not only by the new houses but also the expansion of Sandleheath Industrial Estate, which would cause vehicle movement through the town to almost double.
“Already in Fordingbridge we have big articulated lorries thundering through the narrow High Street and almost all the shops and houses that front the road are listed. Each time a lorry passes their foundations already shake, and if the number doubles it will be madness.
“If these houses are built and if the expansion on the industrial estate takes place, then Fordingbridge will need a bypass and more schools. There is no way the town as it stands at present will cope.
“We will be launching a huge campaign and petition if we don't get any of our concerns answered satisfactorily by New Forest District Council. Yet another small market town gets suffocated by developments which have not been thought through properly.”
Members of the Fordingbridge Society say a road should be built from the industrial estate to the A338 if any expansion was to go ahead.
Mayor Malcolm Connolly said: “The development planned for Whitsbury Road is twice as big as originally proposed.
“The infrastructure cannot sustain any more population increase because we do not have the education or healthcare provision in place.”
He added: “Fordingbridge Society would like to see a new road built in the town and I think if this was agreed by Hampshire County Council then development of the town would certainly be more sustainable.
“I do not think there has been enough serious review of the amenities in Fordingbridge. The High Street is our biggest concern because it is a road that was designed for the late 1800s, not for 21st century traffic.
“We are concerned with additional pressure put on High Street if there are more units built at Sandleheath Industrial Estate.
“We need a positive long-term sustainable plan for the future of Fordingbridge.”
A district council spokesman said: “The council has been working on this plan since late 2009 and there have been opportunities for the public, and others, to make representations on the plan and influence its content. No further representations can be made at this stage.”