Developer loses fight to build store and takeaway on car showroom site

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2079
Hills of Lymington
The proposal for Hills of Lymington would restrict future housing development, according to the NFDC

A DEVELOPMENT company has lost its battle to have a convenience store and takeaway built on the site of a car showroom in Pennington.

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Brightbeech Investments LLP’s bid to turn Hills of Lymington, at 44 Milford Road, into two retail and takeaway units had been refused by New Forest District Council for going against planning policies by splitting the site in such a way it could restrict future housing development.

Now planning inspector Robin Buchanan has backed NFDC in dismissing the appeal, and also warned it would threaten the neighbouring Pennington shopping parade.

The proposed development involved reusing the current building and including 17 parking spaces, with daily trading hours of 6am-11pm. Up to 40 new full and part-time jobs were promised.

It was heavily criticised by Lymington and Pennington Town Council and residents, with a 51-signature petition and 21 letters of objection.

When Brightbeech appealed against NFDC’s refusal, it argued the wider site’s future development would not be prevented in accordance with its allocation for a mix of commercial and residential purposes.

But highlighting the site was in a mainly residential area, Mr Buchanan said the development would consist of a single, large detached building set back behind the building line of the shopping parade.

This, he concluded, would create a “discordant disconnect” and would not provide new commercial uses along Milford Road in a way that would “extend a local shopping frontage”.

The inspector pointed out the proposal took up about a third of a site allocated in principle by NFDC for around 14 dwellings, including an area that planning policy stated “should be for residential development”.

The inspector acknowledged the site need not be filled by a single proposal or developer, but he maintained it was important for “good planning” that elements be “well-coordinated and compatible”.

He ruled that allowing a proposal which contains no residential use would create an “unacceptable” level of uncertainty or delay to the entire site’s future satisfactory development.

Mr Buchanan noted the smaller takeaway unit would complement those in the shopping parade by being of similar size while offering different hot food.

But he criticised the proposed main convenience store as larger than the shopping parade’s existing one, and that no operator had been identified.

Pointing out it had not been proved the store would satisfy a need not already provided, he said it would not “complement the commercial activity within the Pennington shopping parade”.

The inspector also ruled the development would harm highway safety, believing the proposed parking layout would “unacceptably increase the risk of vehicular, pedestrian and cyclist conflict”.

Brightbeech’s separate appeal for a full award of costs from NFDC was also turned down by Mr Buchanan, who ruled it had not behaved unreasonably.

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