QUESTIONS have been raised over whether Fordingbridge has enough “social infrastructure” in terms of food outlets to cope with the expected growth in population.

Fordingbridge Town Council is currently working with New Forest District Council (NFDC) to develop a plan for the town.

At a meeting of the town council on August 4, Cllr Mike Jackson said concerns had been raised about the infrastructure, not just roads, but also “social” infrastructure and whether there would be enough outlets to get food.

He said: “Given that we have got less than 3,000 houses another 1,500 means we are going to grow by more than 50 per cent in terms of residents.”

He said concern had been expressed during a meeting with NFDC representatives about “being able to feed ourselves with that number of people” who also told the meeting that there was provision for some retail in the district council’s local plan.

“It is an interesting point for us to go back to them and say how are we going to cope with it,” said Cllr Jackson.

Cllr Alan Lewendon said if this was the situation the town should be working towards a lower figure, adding: “If we can’t cope with 1,500 houses, logically we should be building less than that.”

He said more houses had been allocated but with the same number of sites.

“They’re squeezing more houses on to these sites.”

The local plan has earmarked land north of Station Road, Ashford, Whitsbury Road and land at Burgate for housing developments.

Deputy mayor, Cllr Anna Wilson felt more should be done to “protect” the high street and prime units in Fordingbridge.

She said a large retail unit in High Street was given permission for change of use for a tattoo parlour - a unit which would have been suitable for a food store.

Cllr Jackson said an ongoing discussion was needed with NFDC on this.

Councillors also expressed the importance of having appropriate infrastructure.

Cllr Diane Paton added: “We don’t know at this stage what we can have, what we could have, but we do know that these sites are coming. We have to make sure we push to make sure the development stays on the side it is before they are allowed to build on the other side of Whitsbury Road. So at least a phase can be completed and we maybe get the infrastructure we need to go with that, mainly the roads.”


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