COUNCILLORS in Fordingbridge have objected to proposals to build nearly 100 homes.

The outline planning application for land at St Johns Farm, Stuckton Road, is for 78 new homes and 20 retirement flats, a village hall and playground as well as a new access.

The plans were discussed by Fordingbridge Town Council’s planning committee last week.

At a previous meeting Councillor Alan Lewendon questioned whether this development, which was not designated in New Forest District Council’s (NFDC) Local Plan, was needed as the three sites already allocated should address housing needs. He also said it was outside the defined built up area of Fordingbridge.

Planning agent James Cain, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the proposed development would provide 21 “affordable” homes and also “cater for a full range of people in Fordingbridge”.

He said the National Planning Policy Framework was “favourable” towards the site and states the local plan was just a “starting point for planning decision”.

The site, he added, represents “sustainable development” and would have economic benefits allowing the town centre to “thrive” with an increased population using shops and other services.

He said the affordable homes would also be a benefit as well as highway improvements.

One member of the public feared “it would set a totally irresponsible precedent going forward” and questioned how an increase in the population could be accommodated in Fordingbridge.

While another said the road was already “atrocious” in terms of traffic and safety as well as flooding, adding: “There is no benefit for this development.”

Councillor Anna Wilson recommended approval while a proposal for refusal was put forward by Councillor Mike Jackson, which was subsequently approved after a vote by councillors.

He said: “It is increasing the amount of housing coming to Fordingbridge. It has got more benefit over some of the other sites but unfortunately we are stuck with the local plan.

“Having more houses coming in is only going to exacerbate the problems we know we’ve got.”

Committee chair, Councillor Diane Paton, added that it was also going against planning policies of the NFDC local plan.

She said: “We would leave ourselves open to more and more applications coming in.”

The district council will make the final decision on whether the application is granted planning permission.

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