HYDE Band is celebrating after planning permission was granted to create a new rehearsal room in Mockbeggar.

The plan for a single storey building for use as a music rehearsal room and music library on land adjacent to Newtown Honey Farm on Newtown Lane was discussed by the New Forest National Park Authority’s planning committee on September 15.

The meeting, which was held online, heard the land had been gifted to band about 15 years ago and the building would also feature a music library and kitchen.

The plans received 60 letters of support with four letters of objection with concerns including vehicular access and increased traffic levels and whether the provision could accommodate all the band.

The planning officer had recommended the plans for refusal on the grounds it would “introduce a new building and associated activity into the open countryside”, serve a need that “does not exist exclusively within the immediate area of Mockbeggar and some degree within the National Park”, and that it was not in a “sustainable location” and would generate additional journeys from further afield.

Joanna Cook, of Hyde Band, said: “Having our own base will undoubtedly secure another 125 years and many more. Despite our very best efforts we have exhausted all options of securing a long-term base in the locality,” she said. “Having our own band room and being able to make use of the land gifted to us is essential to our survival.”

She said those travelling from further afield would car share to keep costs and emissions down.

NPA member Gavin Parker questioned whether this site was the only option for the band, adding: “The committee have to think very carefully about the impact on the Forest as a landscape as a natural resource.”

Joanna Cook said the band had been without a permanent base for more than ten years and it had rented a number of temporary sites for short periods of time.

Searches had also been carried out to find alternatives and the band had been unable to secure a place long term with the storage needed. The meeting heard it had been offered a building at Brooklands Farm and an application for change of use had been granted but arrangements had fallen through.

NPA member, Councillor Ann Sevier said the band was an “integral part of the north west frontier of the New Forest” and the band performed at community events in the wider area.

NPA member George Bisson said it was an “immense asset to the local community” and it “would be a shame to lose”. He also disputed that it would impact on scenic beauty, adding: “Personally, I don’t consider an empty concrete slab is any part of scenic beauty. I think to have a properly designed building which will fit in which will give an ideal, permanent base for the band, it will, I think pull the community together and enhance the community.”

NPA member, Councillor Leo Randall said “tight” planning conditions would be needed.

Members agreed to approve the plans with conditions.

A statement from Hyde Band said: “We are delighted to be granted planning permission to build our own rehearsal room. For the last 10 years the band has moved home too many times to remember and to finally have the promise of a permanent base for both the senior band and the training band is just wonderful.”

“Now we just need to start the mammoth task of fund raising so that we can commence building just as soon as possible. If anyone wishes to donate or offer help in any other way then please do get in touch and we would be thrilled to hear from you.”