MORE than 100 people have opposed a 240-home development proposed for Fordingbridge because of the impact it could have on the town.
In total 115 people have commented on plans to build an estate on 10.7 hectares of field north of Station Road between the town and the neighbouring village of Ashford, with 110 objecting. None of the other five is supportive, all being neutral.
Most naysayers say Fordingbridge’s infrastructure will not cope with the plan, proposed by developer Infinite Homes, claiming its roads, schools and doctor surgeries are already at capacity, and warning of gridlock, speeding, lack of parking and pollution.
There are also concerns that two proposed access points could cause road accidents, and Hampshire Constabulary has mooted the potential for crime and anti-social disorder.
Residents also point out the impact of other recently completed developments in the town – such as Pennyfarthing’s Augustus Park – is not yet known as many of the homes are still up for sale.
Among the opponents is Sandleheath Parish Council, and its clerk, Many Wilkinson, issued its stance in a lengthy submission, which stated: “Fordingbridge’s doctors, dentists and schools are at capacity with the existing residents’ needs.
“There is no space to accommodate the additional demand that this new development would create. Augustus Park development remains mostly unsold so once these houses become occupied there will be even more strain on services.
“Our estimate is that within these 240 new dwellings there would be more than 650 people living there which is almost as many as currently residing in the entirety of Sandleheath village.”
Anthony Bishop remarked: “I cannot believe the council would even consider this build. I have lived here for just over 20 years and noticed the impact of the increased population in the area.
“The doctor surgery has gone from a place where you could call and see a doctor, either same day or at most a couple of days, to now you nearly have to book your illness weeks in advance to get an appointment, so it is unable to cope with the current population.
“Also there is not the capacity in the local schools, let alone the issues on the infrastructure. The main road through Fordingbridge is in such a state it is like driving on a bouncy castle.”
Infinite Homes has already held two public consultations over the land, which includes historic grazing spots. But concerns have been raised, with deputy mayor Cllr Edward Hale highlighting the site’s poor links and the detrimental effect extra traffic could bring.
Documents submitted by Infinite Homes reveal the planned 240 properties will comprise 208 homes: 113 three-bedroom, 75 two-bedroom, 16 four-bedroom and four five-bedroom. Of the 32 flats, 20 will be two-bedroom and the remaining 12 one-bedroom.
It stresses 40% of the homes provided will be affordable, with 3.46 hectares of informal public open space and 0.84 of formal public open space – including a grass playing pitch and play area.