Retirement developer to fight council over ‘ugly’ flats scheme at police station

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Hythe police station
McCarthy and Stone’s plans for the disused Hythe police station in Jones Lane

A RETIREMENT developer will go head to head with New Forest District Council next month at a public inquiry into plans to replace a former police station with a block of flats.

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McCarthy and Stone is seeking to overturn NFDC’s refusal of its scheme for 35 apartments in a three and four-storey block in Jones Lane, Hythe.

Councillors unanimously rejected the proposals in July last year complaining about the “ugly” design located just outside the Hythe conservation area.

Planning officers also raised concerns over the lack of affordable housing contained in the application, which offered £46,000 for cheaper housing funds instead of the £266,000 demanded.

Hythe and Dibden Parish Council was also against the scheme describing the architecture as “industrial”. It attracted 75 objections against 19 letters of support.

The site has lain empty since 2017 when police officers left in a cost-cutting move to share a base at Hardley fire station in Falconer Court.

Hythe police station
The former Hythe police station in Jones lane

A hearing will be held next month when McCarthy and Stone will try to persuade a government appointed planning inspector to give the project the green light.

When the appeal was lodged, regional managing director Shane Paull told the A&T: “We believe that our proposals present the opportunity to sensitively redevelop this brownfield site with specialist retirement accommodation.

“These plans will not only improve choice for the local community but will also help to free up homes for families and first-time buyers further along the housing chain.”

He warned the New Forest had a growing need for retirement accommodation, with a further 2,100 sheltered accommodation dwellings required by 2036.

As reported in the A&T, NFDC recently lost a similar appeal brought by Ringwood-based Churchill Retirement Living for 43 flats on the site of the former builders’ merchant, PC Building Supplies, at 2 South Street, Hythe.

The public inquiry for the McCarthy and Stone plan will be held at Appletree Court in Lyndhurst at 10am on Wednesday 19th June.

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