AMBITIOUS plans to develop a Burley heritage centre and two new affordable homes have been given the go ahead by the New Forest National Park Authority’s planning committee.
The scheme, which was also submitted by the NPA in conjunction with Burley Parish Council, will see an area of paddock within the ground of Park Lodge on Ringwood Road, developed to create the new visitor attraction and house.
Plans reveal the two-storey heritage centre will have the outward appearance of a converted barn with an internal floor space of around 310 square metres. The designs for the two affordable dwellings are based on ‘traditional Forest cottages’ with external chimneys, timber sash windows and small porch overhangs.
Introducing the scheme, NPA planning officer Carly Cochrane said: “Policy states that new local community facilities will be supported where there will be a clear and direct benefit to the local village or rural community within which they would be located.”
The meeting heard that the idea of a heritage centre had been initiated by Burley Parish Council following a successful £50,000 Heritage Lottery funded local history project which enabled it to amass a collection of artefacts and interviews.
A report explained the new homes will be built by the NPA using money from developer’s affordable housing contributions; and the heritage centre is likely to be paid for by a combination of lottery funding, cash from the parish council, and contributions from villagers.
Speaking on behalf of the parish council, Cllr Philip Daubeney said: “The object will be to advance education by the establishment of a heritage museum for the benefit of residents and visitors.
“We will display the artefacts selected by the Burley Living History Project – many of which relate to communing and the filmed interviews of many older people in the village.”
Turning to the importance of providing affordable homes, Cllr Daubeney said: “We believe that we must improve the demographics of Burley – it sounds a bit posh to say that but we really do want to have our firemen, our teachers, and our nurses and others being able to live in the village that they want to live in and – are at the moment excluded by the very expensive housing market.”
The meeting heard that the ‘exception site’ for the development had been selected because of its close proximity to the village centre, and would be leased by the landowner on a 999 year agreement with the NPA.
However, speaking against the plans local resident Stephen William claimed the scheme was in the wrong location and could not be justified.
He said: “Other far more suitable sites exist in the village including at the Coach House, and the Odd Spot Gallery, the Park Lodge site should not be allowed to go ahead without other alternatives being looked at.
“The development is on greenfield land in a conservation area and within the park land that surrounds the Grade II listed Burley Manor Hotel.”
He went on to claim there was “no clear need” for a heritage centre given the negative impact it would have on the conservation area.
The scheme was praised by NPA member Richard Frampton who said: “This is a great project for the village and it will bring huge benefits for the parish council.”
Planning permission was granted unanimously.