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Plan for 62 homes in Ashurst's Whartons Lane given green light by national park authority

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FEARS of parking chaos failed to convince national park authority members to reject plans for 62 new homes in Ashurst.

The application was to develop a 2.6-hectare field in Whartons Lane with an equal mix of market and affordable homes around a central "village green" and 122 parking spaces.

It was accused by opponents as being designed to meet minimum standards but was hailed by supporters as a "prestigious" scheme.

An artist's impression of the scheme
An artist's impression of the scheme

A meeting of the NPA's planning committee in Brockenhurst heard the principal of development had already been agreed in policies allocating it for around 60 homes.

However, the scheme by Vivid Homes was strongly opposed by nearly 250 objectors concerned about flooding, sustainability, a lack of parking and traffic congestion.

Nearly 250 objections were received
Nearly 250 objections were received

NPA planning officer Natalie Walter said officers' recommendation of planning permission followed almost a year of negotiations which had led to a series of amendments.

Ms Walter concluded: “The application would make an important contribution to meeting identified local housing needs on a site allocated for residential development in the local housing plan.”

Supporters hailed the homes as a "prestigious" scheme
Supporters hailed the homes as a "prestigious" scheme

She said Hampshire County Council was satisfied the scheme would not harm the local road network, and run-off water would be limited to existing rates.

Speaking for Vivid Homes, Steve Clarington said the developer was keen to make the scheme "prestigious” and had agreed to a string of changes leading to better landscaping, the use of local materials and sustainability improvements such as electrical car charging points.

But opponent Alan McLean claimed community fears were not born out of "nimbyism" but a feeling that the design was not good enough.

He said: “It has been built down to a budget, and not up to a standard”, claiming the level consultation had been “shocking”.

He said designs were not locally distinctive, and did not address a need for family-sized affordable homes.

He told NPA members: “You have declared that you want to be a beacon of sustainability. To really be that beacon you cannot accept this scheme with its basic compliance and minimum standards.”

The plans were also opposed by Ashurst and Colbury Parish Council which said the design was "cramped".

The development site
The development site

Cllr Sue Robinson warned cars would overspill onto the local road network, particularly with only four visitor parking spaces to serve 62 homes.

She added: “There are already serious issues with on-road parking especially in school hours.”

NPA member George Bisson said it "refreshing" to a scheme brought forward with 50% affordable homes, describing it as target which developers often missed.

Fellow member Cllr Michael Thierry asked for “very strong conditions” to protect a central village green area from future development and suggested ownership should be passed to the parish council.

Several members asked planning officers to “strengthen conditions” in an attempt to allay local concerns. Cllr Thierry said: “I support this with a great deal of reluctance. I feel it could be so much better.”

Members voted unanimously to grant permission, subject to revised planning conditions.

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