PLANS to build 143 homes near a nature reserve have been refused.

New Forest District Council’s planning committee discussed the outline planning application to develop a site off Snails Lane, Blashford, submitted by Gladman Developments, on June 9.

What is proposed

The plans are for the demolition of existing outbuildings and the erection of up to 143 homes affordable housing, public open space, recreation mitigation land, landscaping, sustainable drainage systems (Suds) and two vehicular access points from Snails Lane and Salisbury Road.


The meeting heard the access would be via a priority junction into Snails Lane. This would require "significant" alterations with the widening of the A338 Salisbury Road and Snails Lane and there would also be a loss of trees to allow for the alterations.

The meeting heard there would also be a loss of trees to allow for alterations to the access.


There have been more than 500 objections to the plans and the amended proposals.

Protesters have included TV naturalist Chris Packham, who says Blashford Lakes is popular with otters and more than 100 species of birds.

Ringwood Town Council and Ellingham, Harbridge and Iblsey Parish Council also objected to the proposals with concerns over the local infrastructure and Snails Lane, a private road used by commoners to drive livestock on to the New Forest.

What Gladman Developments say

Helen Ball, of Gladman Developments, said it had worked with planning officers and consultees to ensure the proposals would “result in the delivery of a sustainable addition to Blashford” and it had “carefully addressed all issues” and tried where possible to accommodate suggested amendments.

She said careful consideration had been given to the design to ensure it was “sympathetic to its environment and context” and the “foundations are set for a high quality development to be achieved”.

The plans, she said, would also help meet housing need and provide 50 per cent affordable housing - 72 new homes.

She added: "By delivering 143 homes the site will make a significant contribution to meeting the district's housing needs and bolster the council's five year housing land supply."

Opposition and concerns

Concerns were raised about the environmental impact, phosphate levels, flooding and water drainage.

Ellingham, Harbridge and Iblsey parish councillor Roly Errington said:

“We believe this is the worst fate for this strategic piece of land.”

He said a high density suburban development would “overwhelm” existing settlements in Snails Lane and Woolmer Lane and also raised concerns about the impact on local amenities, schools, infrastructure, medical services, highways and sewerage capacity.

Forest North West district councillor Emma Lane in a statement read out at the meeting on her behalf said the plan for 143 homes was “a total overdevelopment”.

She also raised concerns over the distance of local amenities, which would not create a local community.

Cllr Lane said the development would "not improve the quality of the area in any respect".

District councillor Tony Ring feared additional surface water was “inevitable” and would “create further flooding problems”.

The meeting heard the land if planning permission were granted would be sold on to a developer who would build the site.

Cllr Ring was concerned that this could result in a "much lesser" affordable housing scheme.

Local Plan designation

Land at Snails Lane (strategic site 15) has been earmarked for 100 homes in NFDC’s Local Plan.

However, the meeting heard a parcel of land (Area A) for the proposed development was not part of this allocation.

Councillor Ann Bellow said:

“I do not like the fact that this area is to be built on but there is no denying that this area has been allocated for housing.”

She said a full planning application would come back to the committee for future discussion allowing the committee to monitor the plans and “make sure we do our best to obtain the best outcome for everyone”

Housing need

Councillor Arthur Davis said housing was desperately needed and the site had been looked at as part of the local plan.

Councillor Malcolm Wade added:

"We all know we need houses and we need affordable housing. But once we agree this application the die is cast."

He was also concerned about the impact of climate change.

However, the meeting also heard from the chief planning officer that the outline application had factored in climate change and based on evidence to-date it had demonstrated to planning officers that the site "could be developed in a satisfactory manner that won't result in flooding in the future and will not create an unacceptable living environment for future occupants".

Councillor Allan Glass felt there was no alternative but to grant outline planning permission.

A 'very, very special site'

Councillor Sue Bennison felt it was a “very sensitive” site and “what goes on there needs to be very, very special and I don’t think this is special at all”.

She felt the number of homes was “too big” and also raised concerns about the loss of trees.

What the council decided

After a lengthy debate the committee voted to refuse the application, going against planning officers recommendations to approve.

Reasons included the impact of developing an area of land (Parcel A) which was not allocated in the Local Plan; the number of houses put forward for area B which would result in a "non-sustainable" form of development and impact the rural character; and also flooding.

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