A NEW developer has bought Lymington bus station with fresh designs for homes, a shop and offices after the previous housebuilder gave up trying to get its unpopular schemes past planners.
Landford Estates Ltd has taken on the high-profile site in High Street after Ringwood-based Renaissance Retirement Ltd failed with two attempts to get approval for 17 retirement flats.
The new company, which was behind the redevelopment 10 years ago of Angel Courtyard on the other side of the road, has now submitted very different proposals to New Forest District Council.
Landford bought the site from Go Ahead Group, the parent company of local operator MoreBus, and is leasing it back until planning permission is agreed. The bus station was shut to the public in 2015.
The proposed scheme is for a pair of two-storey terraces of four and five houses around a cobbled courtyard surrounding a tree, and provided with nine covered, mews-style parking spaces.
The floorspace would be about half of Renaissance’s designs, the last of which was rejected by NFDC in 2017 as “cramped and contrived”.
Rory Fitzwilliams, managing director of Landford Estates, told the A&T: “Landford Estates has a long history of development in the Lymington area, as well as elsewhere in the south of England.
“Landford have been working closely with planning, conservation and landscape officers at NFDC to produce a scheme that is sympathetic to this historic site and to its immediate neighbours and surroundings.
“The architecture is deliberately traditional, with proportions, materials and detailing reflecting the historic built form in central Lymington.”
The scheme has been designed to respect the high street’s medieval burgage plots, long alleyways of properties that run off the main thoroughfare, Mr Fitzwilliams said.
A new retail unit will narrow the existing gap off the high street to replace a “lost” building, he added, with offices on the first and second floors above.
The layout would be a “much improved” setting for the nearby Grade 2 Listed Londesborough House, Mr Fitzwilliams said.
Local conservation group the Lymington Society had opposed Renaissance’s schemes but in principle welcomed the new proposals from Landford, which has been running for 27 years.
Spokesperson Don Mackenzie said the society would have preferred a bigger retail element but members recognised that was unlikely to be financially viable.
He said: “The development has the feel of an attractive mews style of development and has a traditional style which sits much more comfortably with the many listed buildings around.
“It is reassuring to see that this development is from a local developer who has created the successful development at Angel Courtyard and who appears to have tried hard to create a sympathetic scheme for the site which has involved meeting the planners in pre-application discussions which the initial briefing from the planners has acknowledged.”
Dr Mackenzie added: “Before making a final decision on whether to fully support this scheme, we will await the views of the conservation officer and local councillors and neighbours to the site.
“But our initial feeling is that this scheme is one that will form the basis for an appropriate and attractive development that will enhance this important site in the town.”
NFDC is scheduled to make a decision by the end of May after the deadline for public comments on 12th May.