Retirement flats refused as objectors call for more affordable homes

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A computer-generated image of Churchill Retirement’s plans for Elcombes Close, Lyndhurst

PLANS have been refused for a three-storey block of 27 retirement flats near the top of Lyndhurst high street over fears its size would spoil the area’s character.

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The national park authority rejected Churchill Retirement Living’s proposal to demolish two houses to make way for the scheme on the corner of Knightwood Avenue and Elcombes Close, off the A35 Bournemouth Road.

The application sparked 37 objections and opposition from local councillors due to the impact of the new building on the neighbourhood, which is just outside the Lyndhurst Conservation Area and near to listed buildings.

The parish council told the NPA: “The proposals, if implemented, would change the appearance of the area and be totally out of keeping.

“Even taking into account the fact that this application is for an age group of over 55, there are strong parking issues with no effective public transport system in place.

“The infrastructure in the area would not support this development and parking is already a serious issue in the surrounding roads.”

Residents’ letters raised similar concerns and called for more affordable housing for younger people instead of retirement homes.

Tyrol House and Magnolias are the properties that would have made way for the over-60s scheme, including a guest flat and 11 parking spaces.

Ringwood-based Churchill’s application said the proposal was a “high quality design” that fitted in with the local character and would meet demand for older people’s housing.

Churchill also claimed the development would be financially unviable if it had to provide a contribution to affordable housing.

However, an NPA report concluded the scheme did not provide enough parking or meet a 50% on-site affordable housing policy requirement.

It said: “The proposed development would, by virtue of its scale, massing, height and cumulative impact, fail to respond to the context of the site and the established spacious character and appearance of the area.

“The density of development would significantly and adversely alter the existing character of the site and area, and result in a cramped, prominent and dominant form of development which would be incongruous with the site on an important approach into the village.”

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