A "SIGNIFICANT" investment of more than £8m has been approved to complete the development of employment land in Ringwood.

The site for industrial and office space is at Crow Lane.

New Forest District Council (NFDC) has approved £8,445,000 which included £125,000 for the installation of additional PV (photovoltaic) panels.

The project is part of its Asset Investment Strategy which seeks to help the economic development of the district.

Cllr Jeremy Heron, portfolio holder for finance, investment and corporate services, said: “This is a significant investment for the council (and) we are so pleased as an administration to bring this forward.

"It provides work and employment and supports our green agenda where we are trying to avoid people commuting and unnecessary travel. (This development) will provide employment in the district, one of our key aims, and it will deliver an additional rental income for the council.”

It is estimated the development could sustain around 150 to 200 new jobs once fully let as well as supporting other employment during the anticipated twelve-month construction period.

The proposed scheme will have five single-storey industrial units and two two-storey office units with an estimated floor area of approximately 4,558m2 (49,458 sq. ft).

After additional survey work and detailed design, it is expected the contractor will start works on site by the end of November 2021.

Cllr Michael Harris, portfolio holder for business, tourism and high streets, added: “This project will be the first commercial property project where NFDC has itself undertaken the construction and development of an employment site. It is a milestone development, very much driven by our commitment to further the economic development of the area, as set out in our corporate plan.”

On June 26, 2019 the Commercial Property Investment Panel approved the purchase of the freehold interest in a development site off Crow Lane,.

The site forms part of a larger mixed-use development. The residential part of the development to the east has been developed by Linden Homes, and the area to the south is designated for development of a care home by others, a district council report states.

The total estimated cost of the project is £10,886,054.42.

The council spent £2.169m to purchase the land, which included fees and duty, according to a report presented to the cabinet last week.

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