A MAJOR redevelopment scheme for the centre of Christchurch has finally being given the ahead.
Aster Group’s proposals for the site of the former police station and magistrates’ courts will see 169 new homes built.
There will also be retail and community space to include a science museum and ‘hub’ which local groups and organisations can make use of.
BCP Council’s planning committee voted through the application, which Aster has been working on for the past five years, at a meeting yesterday (Thursday).
Aster’s senior development manager (strategic) Lindsey Aldington described news as “fantastic”.
She added: “We have worked hard to ensure this much-needed project provides what local people are looking for in a home: close to local amenities, bus stops and the railway station. We are thrilled that BCP councillors have given it the green light.”
The police station closed in 2015 and since then the site has become a magnet to Travellers who regularly set up camp there, as well as vandals.
The new development, which also covers the closed-down Goose and Timber pub and the Pit Site car park, will include 53 affordable homes and 39 units of sheltered accommodation with garages and parking.
A new road connecting Bargates and Barrack Road – initially for pedestrians and cyclists only – will be built, along with public open space.
Plans to redevelop the site have been mired in controversy with objectors claiming the Aster proposals were “overkill” and would dominate the town.
There were also claims that losing the Pit Site car park would harm high street businesses. A petition against the development collected nearly 1,000 signatures.
But after a public consultation was held into the application last year, BCP Council planning officers recommended it for approval.
They said they were “firmly of the view” that the proposals were not overdevelopment and were “very well realised and very well designed”.
Aster said it would start the first phrase of the construction as soon as possible.
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