Housing hopes raised by £5m council depot relocation plan

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Claymeadow depot
Claymeadow depot in Hounsdown Avenue, Totton, is the base for NFDC’s waste collection fleet

PLANS to relocate a major New Forest District Council depot have been revived in a proposed scheme worth £5m.

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The ruling cabinet has backed a two-year project to shift the waste and services site from Claymeadow, in Totton, to Hardley industrial estate seven miles away.

As reported in the A&T, a similar scheme was floated in 2014 for the facility in Hounsdown Avenue, where the council’s waste collection fleet is based.

It sparked concerns for the future of the neighbouring Hounsdown Community Hall, which is on land owned by NFDC, and in 2016 was put on hold for NFDC to review its operations.

Nearly four years later the idea is back with plans to complete the relocation by the end of next year. However, the council stressed that no impact was expected on the hall.

Chris Noble, NFDC waste and transport service manager, told the A&T: “Our depot in the Hounsdown area hosts several important services including refuse and recycling collection, grounds maintenance, and street cleansing.

“The depot is located on the edge of a residential area and we are considering a move to a more suitable and appropriate location, for late 2021.”

He added: “We signed a new lease on the Hounsdown Community Hall in 2019 and do not anticipate an impact on the hall as a result of a depot move.”

The idea was backed by Totton South’s Cllr David Harrison who said it would remove noise nuisance for neighbours and lorries using a route taken by pupils to Hounsdown School.

“The Claymeadow depot site could then be used for a much-needed, small housing development,” he said.

Cllr Harrison hoped nothing would change for the hall but that if a future plan for the land involved improving community facilities, then “it would be worth looking at”.

A report to NFDC’s ruling cabinet said £3m of spending had been earmarked for 2020/21 and another £2m for the following financial year.

It said: “Following initial works to assess the suitability of hardly industrial estate as a new… depot site for the council, work is ongoing to bring together a fully costed specification and accompanying business plan.”

Capital plans

THE Claymeadow project is part of a £10m capital spending programme allocated for the coming financial year by New Forest District Council.

The list of projects, some lasting up to three years, is set to kick off in 2020/21 and includes £400,000 for the sea wall at Lymington where there is also a public toilet upgrade being planned at Town Quay, plus another in Barton.

The spending was outlined in a report to NFDC’s ruling cabinet, and included investments in the authority’s computer systems and offices at Appletree Court in Lyndhurst, plus new, more efficient vehicles and plant worth £1.68m.

Cllr Jeremy Heron, cabinet member for finance, investment and corporate services, credited the spending to the Conservative administration’s “good and prudent management”.

He noted there had been concern from backbench councillors about NFDC stumping up £72,000 to relay the car park at Dibden Golf Centre, which is run on its behalf by leisure operator Mytime Active.

But he said the site was still owned by the council and the work would result in “improving an asset” which, fellow Tory Cllr Allan Glass pointed out, was also used for functions and meetings.

Deputy leader Cllr Edward Heron said: “I think we all know the difficult time local government has gone through in financial terms and the difficult options we have had to make to ensure a sound financial position.

“To have a capital programme of just shy of £10m is a fantastic achievement, because we have had sound financial management to allow us to spend one-off sums on one-off projects.”

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