THE mayor of Fordingbridge fears the town is “not prepared for the damage” additional homes will do to the town.

Concerns were raised over traffic issues at a meeting of Fordingbridge Town Council last week and the need for it to be addressed.

Councillor Edward Hale, speaking about the town council’s objections to an outline planning application for 240 homes on Station Road, said: “We can’t change the fact that the local plan has allocated 1300 new homes to Fordingbridge and other applications are likely to be submitted again soon.

“For me this application has particularly worried me because it has shown we are not prepared for the damage that the additional homes will do to our town.

“We have no plan at present to avoid hundreds of additional vehicles using the high street and existing residential roads.

“It seems our applications so far are cul-de-sacs leading directly on to inadequate roads. The possible link to the A338 could be part of the last development site, which could be 20 years away.”

He added: “I really hope we can use the next few months to agree how to move forward on this.”

Councillor Mike Jackson, the chairman of the neighbourhood plan group, said Fordingbridge was “facing a real highways problem”.

He had written a letter to New Forest District Councillor Edward Heron and Claire Upton-Brown, the district council’s chief planning officer about these concerns.

Cllr Jackson said: “Fordingbridge is facing a real highways problem, which is set to get much worse as the NFDC local plan starts to take effect.

“The centre of the town, the high street and mini roundabout in Salisbury Street are up to capacity before we start to see the effects of the 1500 new houses coming our way.”

In Fordingbridge, the local plan has earmarked developments of at least 140 homes on land to the north of Station Road, and Ashford with at least 330 more on land at Whitsbury Road, in addition to the 145 homes which have already been permitted. A modification to the plan included an additional parcel of land at Burgate for a further 50 homes – increasing the figure from at least 350 to 400.

Cllr Jackson also said the local plan did not seem to take into account the traffic issues or the potential impact of the local plan for Dorset in relation to traffic from Alderholt.

He said the recent consideration of the planning application for Station Road showed the problems, which Hampshire Highways have identified and that the town council’s open spaces survey had also shown the “strength of local hostility towards the highway issue”.

He added: “If ever there was a time to consider the long-term planning, it is now.”

District Councillor Ann Sevier said a roundabout at Burgate on the A338 had been secured.

When pressed by Cllr Jackson, Cllr Sevier said: “You have to accept the road system is what it is at the moment. You can only make small adjustments other than dropping a big bomb on the middle of Fordingbridge and turning it into wider roads we have to work with what we’ve got.”

“It is not easy, the main thing is to keep talking about it,” she added.

Councillor Nobby Goldsmith said: “We need to be moving on it.”

Cllr Jackson added: “It needs to be up on the agenda.”

Cllr Hale said: “We all want to try and find a way to put more pressure on the developers to do the roads in a reasonable sequence if there is an option to do that rather than leaving it all to the end.”

The town council has arranged a meeting later this month with the district council.