FORDINGBRIDGE will struggle to cope with a proposed 240-home estate if it is approved, say concerned residents.
Infinite Homes has lodged an outline proposal to develop 10.7 hectares of fields north of Station Road, between the town and the neighbouring village of Ashford, with the district council.
But as of Monday 39 people had responded to the plans – which include parking and access – with every one of them objecting for a raft of reasons.
“Two hundred and forty dwellings is going to have a detrimental effect on this town; with schools and doctors’ surgery already busting at the seams, how are we going to accommodate this? Not to mention the amount of traffic this is going to bring into the town. It will cause turmoil,” one said.
Another added: “The infrastructure of Fordingbridge – doctors, dentists, schools and parking– cannot accommodate such an increase in population.”
Infinite Homes has already held two public consultations over the land, which includes historic grazing spots. But concerns have been raised, with deputy mayor Cllr Edward Hale highlighting the site’s poor links and the detrimental effect extra traffic could bring.
Documents submitted by Infinite Homes reveal its planned 240 properties will comprise 208 homes: 113 three-bedroom, 75 two-bedroom, 16 four-bedroom and four five-bedroom. Of the 32 flats, 20 will be two-bedroom and the remaining 12 one-bedroom.
It stresses 40% of the homes provided will be affordable, with 3.46 hectares of informal public open space and 0.84 of formal public open space – including a grass playing pitch and play area.
There will be a new vehicle access off Station Road and 5km of new footpath, cycleway and bridleway routes, it adds.
In the planning documents, prepared by agent NTR Planning, Infinite Homes acknowledges the 240 number proposed is 100 above the level NFDC allocated.
But it added NFDC’s “master planning” process did not benefit from the input of an architect or project team and it was possible to provide 240 dwellings “whilst also providing a quality, well designed, sustainable development” within the context of the site and its wider surroundings.
Pre-application discussions have been ongoing since 2017, it added, and 280 homes was originally considered but that had been scaled down.
While the 40% affordable housing is below the district council’s 50% target, Infinite Homes added: “The proposed affordable housing will be across the range of dwelling types and sizes, and will include the provision of some assisted-living accommodation.”
Infinite Homes added: “It is considered that, on balance, the application represents a well-designed and sensitive development of the subject site which will significantly assist the delivery of much-needed new housing in a district that is largely constrained by the national park and other designations of national importance.”