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Controversial 400-home plan for land north of Hightown Road in Ringwood branded 'overdevelopment'

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build 400 homes on the edge of Ringwood has been slammed as an "overdevelopment" by town councillors.

More than 60 residents listened in online as members of the planning committee unanimously voted to urge New Forest District Council to reject Taylor Wimpey’s outline proposal for land north of Hightown Road, Hightown.

The site has been earmarked for 270 homes in NFDC’s Local Plan, which outlines development policy outside of the national park until 2036.

Within the proposal is provision to utilise three hectares of the land for employment, and construct an access to the A31.

A CGI of Taylor Wimpey's outline plan for the site
A CGI of Taylor Wimpey's outline plan for the site

It also suggests linking the site to the town’s sewerage system, building flood storage areas, and sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to tackle surface water.

So far 240 people have objected to the plan and only three people are in favour.

Cllr Gareth Deboos presented a comprehensive report, which concluded the 400-home figure was "too high a density" and constituted "overdevelopment".

He highlighted problems such as the displacement of rare bats and the effect on the local roads and the environment.

Committee chair Cllr Day and other members praised Cllr Deboos’ work. They highlighted their primary concern as the impact the likely development of the Hightown site, and others nearby, on Ringwood’s infrastructure.

Land company St Congar has recently revealed outline plans to build at least 480 homes on land north of Moortown Lane.

Hampshire County Council also owns two parcels of land at Moortown Lane but has not yet said how it wants to develop them.

There is also provision for at least 100 homes at Snails Lane at neighbouring Blashford.

As reported in the A&T, planners have already said Ringwood pupils will need to be “re-distributed” between schools because of the anticipated influx of families into new homes.

At the latest meeting resident Frank Van Hoof told members he recently finished a spell as governor at Ringwood School, and during his time it had turned down children living at nearby Ashley Heath because it was at capacity.

“People will be turned away who live in Ringwood from attending Ringwood School,” he told councillors. “They will have to go to Ferndown or West Moors.”

There is provision in the Local Plan for a school at the St Congar site, but the company has told the town council it does not believe it needs to build one there.

Cllr Day urged residents to contribute to a virtual public consultation St Congar is currently running and make their infrastructure complaints known. That can be viewed at moortownlane.co.uk and comments must be made by 3rd May.

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