COUNCILLORS have expressed the need for discussions with New Forest District Council (NFDC) over parking for residents in the town centre car park in Fordingbridge.

The issue of parking was raised during discussions over a prior approval application for the change of use of first floor offices to a two-bedroom flat at Fordingbridge Town Council’s planning committee on September 8.

Committee chair Cllr Diane Paton said “nothing is changing in appearance outside or to the ground floor” of the property on High Street, and the first floor layout would remain the same except the toilet would be changed into a shower room and the offices to two bedrooms and a lounge/kitchen.

But Cllr Mike Jackson voiced concerns about existing parking issues in the town as there was no parking provision proposed.

Cllr Paton added: “The only way people are going to use the car park more is if there are more long stay car parking or something is changed so that residents can park there but obviously we don’t want to lose it for business either.”

Cllr Pat Earth said in other places in the country residents were given permits and questioned if it “would make a difference” in Fordingbridge.

While Cllr Nobby Goldsmith said if permits were granted then the same would have to be done for other residents adding: “You’d end up with it all being set aside [for residents parking].”

Cllr Paton said these matters had to be discussed with NFDC, adding: “It is something we need to bring up.”

“It would be interesting to see how other places do deal with it. But obviously, at the end of the day it is NFDC that make the final decision and we don’t. We can only discuss things with them.”

The planning committee agreed to recommend change of use be approved but raised concerns about the lack of parking provision. NFDC will make the final decision on the application as the planning authority for the area.

Cllr Edward Hale said it would be “using an existing building that would otherwise stand empty”.


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