Campaigners fight on despite rejection in battle to stop 100 homes being built at Pennington

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Protest
PALLS chair Bruce Tindall (left) with George Trevelyan and protesters

A CAMPAIGN group has vowed to fight on despite New Forest District Council rejecting its bid to stop 100 homes being built on land in Pennington.

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Bruce Tindall, chairman of the Pennington and Lymington Lanes Society (PALLS), said its 700 members were “angry and disappointed” with the inclusion of the site at Lower Pennington Lane in the council’s Local Plan, a document of planning policies outside the national park.

He pledged the group, which is concerned about the traffic impact on the quiet local routes, would continue to scrutinise the new rules, which were formally adopted in March.

“The need for PALLS to deliver a clear and effective voice for the lanes is more important now than ever,” he said.

As reported in the A&T, the Local Plan will determine the construction of up to 10,500 homes in the district. The council’s final draft was given the green light by government planning inspectors following a public consultation.

It lists a total of 18 sites, some within the greenbelt, which could be developed. It does not grant automatic permission for houses and developers will still have to get planning permission for developments they propose.

The site off Lower Pennington Lane – known as SS6 – adjoins Oakhaven Hospice and is served by a series of narrow, winding lanes.

Mr Tindall said the group was not only upset by the decision, but also frustrated because its concerns had not been addressed.

“We knew back in December that the site allocation for SS6 would be kept in the Local Plan, as are all of the other site allocations. We thought that the inspector’s report would finally give us the reasons why. It doesn’t,” he said.

New Forest green belt
New Forest District Council proposes allocating land off Lower Pennington Lane for 100 homes

“None of the objections made by PALLS and others – relating to the failure to properly consult, errors in the submitted documentation, shortcomings in the evidence on greenbelt, serious concerns about highways, road safety, the impact on the lanes, the damaging effect on ecology or the harmful impact on the national park, to name just a few – have been addressed.

“Even the limited concessions added to attempt to mitigate the impact of the development on Oakhaven Hospice have been watered down in the latest changes, which would allow the eventual developer to come up with ‘equivalent arrangements’, whatever those might be.”

He highlighted the plan still required a route for traffic linking Lower Pennington Lane and Ridgeway Lane, which was inconsistent with inspectors’ advice that prescriptive highways requirements should be removed from the plan.

“We urge NFDC to listen to the very reasonable request from Oakhaven Hospice, Lymington and Pennington Town Council and PALLS to remove the policy requirement for a vehicular through route when they consider the inspectors’ report in May,” he said.

The developer seeking to use the site, Cicero Estates, previously defended its inclusion by claiming it would contribute between £1.5m to £2m to the local economy, and improve schools, healthcare facilities, road infrastructure and footpath links.

NFDC’s draft Local Plan states that the access from Ridgeway Lane would require visibility and safety to be addressed by any developer.

It adds that proposals must respect the “rural edge character” of the location, with green space at their heart, buffers of trees and hedgerows, and bungalow-style homes near the hospice to safeguard its peace.

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