A MAJOR new development of more than 50 homes has been unveiled for a strip of woodland once designated as a village relief road.
An outline planning application has been submitted to build 18 detached luxury bungalows and two blocks of flats in Highcliffe on an area south of Jesmond Avenue, behind the medical centre off the A337 Lymington Road.
The proposals submitted to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council are from Brentland Ltd for land once owned by the grandfather of company director Peter Boyland.
It was compulsorily purchased in the 1960s by Hampshire County Council which intended to build a spur road to bypass Highcliffe.
But the road was never built and in 2015 the company – previously known as Boyland and Son Ltd – bought back the land.
It now intends to implement the original plan which was to build housing on the land, currently a mixture of trees and dense undergrowth.
Christopher Bulstrode, director of Brentland Ltd, told the A&T: “Boyland bought the whole Wolhayes/Marydale area and from the 1950s to 1970s developed it into the Wolhayes Garden Estate.
“This included luxury bungalows on Jesmond Avenue, opposite which it was planned to continue the estate but this was halted by the compulsory purchase.
“For years the people in Jesmond Avenue had to live with the fear of having a very busy road built right opposite them. This has affected their house prices and in some cases led to them struggling to sell at all.
“Now that fear has been lifted completely and they will have a luxury development in front of them which will be landscaped so there will still be plenty of greenery and trees.”
He promised land north of Lymington Road would have a seven-metre “green corridor” which has been agreed with Natural England to provide habitats for wildlife.
Mr Bulstrode said he did not know why Hampshire Country Council – which Highcliffe was then controlled by – never built the road, which they finally announced in 2007 was not going ahead.
He said Brentland Ltd had been battling to get the land back since the early 1980s.
It finally succeeded under what is known as Crichel Down Rules which allow land acquired by, or under a threat of, compulsion to be offered back to former owners.
Mr Bulstrode said he believed the new development would benefit Highcliffe by bringing “much needed new housing stock to the market and helping to regenerate the village”.
He said: “People living there will be spending in the High Street shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
“There will be no significant traffic generated from the site as there will not be a road leading from the development, just three walkways which lead straight to the village centre.
“The area as it is has not been used as it is totally overgrown. It was just a mess before we started clearing it.
“But we realise people in Jesmond Avenue have had a lovely view of trees for the last 50-odd years which is why we have been very careful to landscape the new development with plenty of trees and hedges.”
He said the 18 luxury chalet bungalows will all have their own garages and parking spaces.
One block of 15 flats, which will be two to three bedrooms, will be for private rent. The other block of 21 apartments will be for affordable housing and shared ownership. They will all have designated parking spaces.
Mr Bulstrode said the blocks would be “only two or three storeys high” and trees would hide them from the road, adding: “They won’t be horrible tower blocks.”
He said the company was expecting opposition to the plans but is encouraging residents to approach them with feedback saying: “We are willing to listen to people’s concerns.”
He said he hoped locals would appreciate the fact that there was now going to be an “at-tractive” development instead of a road, adding: “They were only ever the two options for this plot of land.”
Mr Bulstrode said that if the company’s application was turned down they could be forced to sell the land to a housing association, which “could use it for building high density housing”.