A DISUSED parcel of land next to Ashurst railway station is to be turned in a cycle hire outlet and 32-space car park in a bid to help solve local parking “mayhem”.
The national park authority’s planning committee approved the application by Peter Harding to develop the land adjacent to 213 and 219 Lyndhurst Road.
Members heard how the land, a former coal yard, was accessed from the New Forest Hotel car park and was outside the defined village boundary where planning rules are stricter.
An outbuilding for the cycle hire business will be installed at the site as well as a cycle store and parking meters.
The application stated: “The overspill into residential roads and the mayhem in the station car park is demand enough for the parking, while the demand for cycling in the Forest is also accepted from the recent increase in popularity.
“The current cycle store located at the station is clearly not fit for purpose and so this new facility will offer security and weather benefits for travellers.
“We aim to rent the cycle facility to a local established cycle rental company.”
Speaking against the plans was Cllr Mike Thomas from Ashurst and Colbury Parish Council. He said: “We feel the proposal would have an adverse and unacceptable impact for the neighbours. They are very concerned.
“The A35 junction is unsafe and a 75% increase in traffic will make things worse. We are concerned about the viability of the whole project. It is definitely not needed.”
The application received seven letters of objection, including from Mr D. Williams who lives and works at the adjacent New Forest Hotel.
He wrote: “The access to the proposed car park is immediately adjacent to where trucks need to park for delivery to our busy kitchen. This can already be difficult at times due to the volume of commuter cars – many of whom park for several days and come from outside of Ashurst.
“The fact that there is only one access road in and out of the pub meaning additional vehicles would create havoc with our delivery schedules.”
However, NPA member George Bisson recommended granting permission and said: “Whilst I have every sympathy for the noise and disturbance to residents, it is alongside a main train line to London so I wouldn’t think the application would be overly problematic.
“I think this would be a proper use of a piece of derelict land.”
Members voted unanimously in favour of the application.