Parish councillors oppose new retirement homes at ex-police station

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McCarthy and Stone
The McCarthy and Stone designs for the old police station in Jones Lane, Hythe

LOCAL councillors are opposing a new application by a developer to build retirement flats on the site of the former police station in Hythe.

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Previous proposals by McCarthy and Stone for 35 apartments on the vacant site in Jones Lane – which were likened to a prison – were dismissed following a public hearing last June.

The company has now submitted revised plans for the old station, which closed in 2017, to include 33 one and two-bedroom flats. The development will also include a residents’ lounge, guest suite and parking for 23 cars.

Discussing the application at a meeting of Hythe and Dibden Parish Council’s planning committee, members agreed unanimously to recommend New Forest District Council to refuse it.

Hythe police station
The first rejected plans by McCarthy and Stone for the disused Hythe police station

Cllr Malcolm Wade said: “When it first came up, I was against it and I maintain that stance.

“This is the most significant building site we have. The community needs starter homes for young people so they can get on the ladder, and more affordable homes. We have a whole plethora of this type of housing.”

He added: “We do not have the infrastructure to support more elderly people – we already don’t have enough space at the doctors’ surgeries.”

Cllr Allan Fairhead said: “In the last appeal one of the inspector’s objections was the height of the building. This [application] is no different.”

Cllr Stephanie Osborne raised concerns over the limited amount of on-site parking, and added: “It is just not the right thing for this piece of land. It is not in keeping and is not the right way to go for the [nearby] conservation area.”

In its application McCarthy & Stone state: “We believe we have created a high-quality building and environment for later-years living while enhancing a derelict and underused site.

“The development team has worked hard to produce a scheme that we consider to have a positive impact on a prominent site, taking into consideration the many facets that come with the design and function of retirement living and integrating in to the site and context.”

The proposals have so far attracted seven letters of objection.

One resident wrote: “Over recent years all the major housing development in Hythe has been for retired or over-55s. Hythe is rapidly becoming the Eastbourne of the New Forest.

“Serious consideration should be given to rejecting this application in favour of a development that will bring jobs and economic benefits to the village.”

Another called for more affordable and starter homes, claiming as there were a number of retirement developments locally with available properties

A decision is expected to be made by NFDC in March.

What do you think? Write to the Advertiser and Times via letters@adt.press.

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