COUNCILLORS in Fordingbridge have objected to proposals for a development of 240 new homes over the traffic and environmental impact.

An application seeking outline planning permission for the development on land to the north of Station Road, which has been submitted by Infinite Homes Ltd, was discussed by Fordingbridge Town Council’s planning committee last week (September 23).

The plans also include a new access off Station Road to the site as well as 10.7 hectares of open space, off-street car parking and access roads.

The site lies between Fordingbridge and Ashford.

The chairman of the planning committee, Councillor Diane Paton said the application had to be considered along with the other applications coming forward in the town and added: “It is imperative that each site location and their impacts are considered with an overall strategy. Most importantly the link roads to the A338 as this could lessen the impact on the town.

“The sequence of these developments needs to be considered in order to restrict the detrimental effects and ensure that Fordingbridge, our town, has as much involvement as possible in shaping our future.”

The planning application has sparked more than 100 letters of objection on New Forest District Council’s website with concerns over the impact on traffic and amenities in Fordingbridge.

Councillor Paul Anstey read out a summary of a report provided by Highways which said the development would result in “significant movements which could not be accommodated adequately on the existing transport network and the users of the development being unable to make use of sustainable transport opportunities”. The summary also said: “This would result in greater numbers of trips by private car which would create a severe impact on the local transport network and environment contrary to the NPPF and local policies.”

Highways also said information was lacking on a number of issues including footpath improvements along Station Road and details on paths connecting Marl Lane and other rights of way and the need for plans showing links to local services and school routes.

Councillor Anna Wilson said the density and height of the development would “impact greatly” on the landscape and the removal of more than 25 mature, native trees and 500 sqm of hedging would “only worsen the impact”. She also said the “poor design” would have a “detrimental impact” on the landscape and again impact on the views from Marl Lane.

Councillor Mike Jackson said the highways issue was the main one for residents and added there “doesn’t appear to be any attempt to reconcile or improve the problems that we have got and the problems this site will add too. It will make it unacceptable.”

“All the highway issues must be tackled as well as all the other things,” he said.

Sandleheath Parish councillor Keith Partridge said one of the big issues was the entrance and exit point and its close proximity to Victoria Gardens and Victoria Road. He also said there were “safety concerns” regarding the narrow pavement into the town which cannot be widened.

One resident said: “This development will create more traffic problems, overstretch the town’s amenities and degrade the environment.”

Councillor Jackson called for the possibility of creating a spine road out onto the A338 to be considered adding: “There is an opportunity now for that to be done. If that is done that does solve some of the other traffic issues.”

Councillor Edward Hale said the plans should be recommended for refusal citing the traffic and environmental impact and the increase in the number of houses over the number proposed in the local plan. The planning committee voted to recommend refusal.

The application will be considered by NFDC, who will decide whether permission is granted.