A DEVELOPER hoping to build a mini supermarket and eight homes at a garage site in Sway has hit back at claims the scheme does not fit in with national and local policies.
Landmark Estates say comments made by local objectors who spent £2,000 on a private transport consultant, that the plans for the Co-op store, four flats and four cottages on the Hatch Motors site, will cause parking havoc in the village are unfounded.
The Ringwood-based company’s planning manager Philip Holdcroft pointed out that the New Forest National Park planning officers had recommended that an earlier application be approved but that was disregarded by members.
At appeal the government’s planning inspector had said Landmark Estate’s first scheme had “many benefits” and that the sole reason for refusal was unsatisfactory parking for delivery vehicles.
Mr Holdcroft added: “This issue has now been addressed and overcome.”
The revised application, which is due to go before the national park authority’s planning committee in March, has reduced the number of flats from five to four, removing a second floor apartment so the height of the building is now lower.
There have also been alterations to the frontage of the shop to look more traditional.
The landscaping of the boundary fence has also been improved and there is now a dedicated delivery area.
Iain Coates, Landmark’s head of land and acquisitions, acknowledged the concerns from The Sway Hatch Motors Site Development Group, which comprises 14 local residents.
Their fears were backed by consultancy firm Motion, based in Guildford, who were hired by the group to provide a report on the proposed redevelopment on Station Road.
As previously reported in the A&T, Motion said the parking space for residents and shoppers on the site were not large enough and the delivery bay “would be very tight with little to no room for error.”
But Mr Coates said: “The report is based on facts that have been misconstrued and its conclusions are misleading. All the parking bay dimensions are not ‘minimum standard’. They meet and adhere to the national standard which is 2.4 metres by 4.8 metres and applies to every development in the country.
“For example in Sway the parking space sizes at the neighboring youth club, pharmacy, parish council and Jubilee Field pavilion are of this size dimension. There are no parking spaces in Sway which we have found that exceed this national standard.”
Mr Holdcroft said claims in the report that the parking spaces would not fit estate cars was “wrong”, adding: “Out of 35 estate cars available to buy in the UK 22 of them are actually smaller than the parking spaces. It’s a complete nonsense to suggest that most estate cars would not fit in.
“With regard to Co-op delivery vehicles the transport consultant said that Co-op have some delivery lorries measuring 12 metres which is true but we reiterate that the Co-op have always stated that these will not be used at the Sway site.
“So the objectors’ concerns of large delivery vehicles are simply not going to happen and their concerns are unnecessary. Our submitted reports have clearly stated that all Co-op delivery vehicles will be a maximum of 10.35 metres as per the submitted delivery and servicing plan and we have demonstrated that the manoeuvring and parking of these vehicles will avoid all parked cars.”
Mr Coates said he was disappointed with the stance taken by the small group of residents.
“Planning guidance for brownfield sites are that they should be effectively reused.
“The proposed scheme includes a mixture of commercial and residential use in a sustainable location within the village centre.
“Our scheme will create a starter and family homes, jobs for local people and provide a modern local grocery shop for villagers to use, with an increased range of goods, which will assist the self-containment of the village. Crucially this purpose-built store will result in a greater amount of expenditure remaining in the local economy.”
If Landmark Estates get planning permission the council will receive a commuted payment in lieu of providing social housing on the site.
Mr Coates concluded: “There are over 2,000 Sway residents and judging by the emails and letters we have received the majority of them are in favour of our plan.”