A CAR park hailed by the Beaulieu Estate as a way of saving local shops from going bust has been shown the green light by national park planners.
The major landowner proposed the 25 spaces on land off High Street, opposite Fairweathers Garden Centre, to help ease the parking shortage that it said was putting “viability of any trade within the village at risk”.
However, construction of the facility, for private use by residents and traders, depends on the NPA allowing Beaulieu Estate to build a house at Harlicks Hill in Hatchet Lane – outside the village boundary where planning policy is strictly against new development.
It already has permission to build a four-bedroom home and garage on the car park site and wants to switch location to enable the scheme to go ahead.
Rachel Pearson, agent for the Beaulieu estate, warned in the application that the dwelling was “absolutely linked” to the parking plan in Hayward’s Field.
Approval of the extra spaces was welcomed by the parish council whose chair, Cllr Frederick Norris, had highlighted “appalling congestion” in a letter to the NPA.
He wrote that members were “very concerned about the deterioration of the quality of life for parishioners and the threatened viability of our village shops”.
An NPA report concluded: “Whilst the use of the field as a car park would raise the level of activity and thus some instance of noise, this is set in the context of other car parks (the adjoining garden centre) and the fact that cars already park along the road.
“No lighting is proposed, and it is considered that the levels of additional activity are unlikely to be so significant as to merit the refusal of the scheme.”
The NPA will make a decision on the house in Hatchet Lane later.