FEARS over adding to the “parking chaos” in Fordingbridge and loss of retail space were the concerns raised by councillors over plans for new flats.

Fordingbridge Town Council’s planning committee discussed an application seeking the change of use of part of the ground floor from retail into two self-contained flats as well as window alterations at 23 High Street.

The meeting held in the town hall on Wednesday, June 16, heard the building was the former C Harrison and Son shop and that the town council had discussed a previous change of use application to turn it into a tattoo studio, which the committee voted for refusal.

However, New Forest District Council, the planning authority, granted approval for the change of use from an A1 retail unit.

The apartments would be one one-bed and a two-bed.

Cllr Alan Lewendon felt the accommodation was “quite compact” and added: “It is crammed in but then again it is providing some much-needed accommodation within the centre of Fordingbridge.”

He also told the meeting that there was a shared garden but there was no car parking provided.

Cllr Pat Earth raised concerns over existing parking issues in the town and that the town council had previously objected to plans for a development of five flats at a retail premises further up in High Street because it had no parking facilities.

“It is going to cause chaos again, isn’t it?” added Cllr Earth.

Cllr Nobby Goldsmith said a solution would be for double yellow lines to be put through the town while committee chair Cllr Diane Paton said there would need to be alterations to the car park to allow residents with no parking to park.

Cllr Mike Jackson said the parking situation needed to be reiterated in the cous response to the application, adding: “Parking is bad and it is getting worse. It is one of the big problems in Fordingbridge.”

Cllr Paton also said there were few large shop premises remaining in Fordingbridge and the town needs retail space.

The close proximity of the flat windows to a a nearby business was also flagged as a concern by Cllr Lewendon.

Cllr Edward Hale recommended refusal on the grounds of the parking issue and the need for more space to be kept for retail use.

The planning committee voted unanimously to refuse the application. The district council will make the final decision over whether approval is given.

Get more Forest Journal news.

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

Email newsdesk@salisburyjournal.co.uk with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.