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Appeal against the refusal of plan by APE Properties Ltd to turn bakery in Blackfield into two flats has been turned down by planning inspector

AN APPEAL against the refusal of plans to turn a village bakery into flats has been thrown out.

Developer Ape Properties wanted to change the use of the shop, on Blackfield’s Hampton Road, and erect a single-storey side and rear extension to the building.

That was refused by New Forest District Council earlier this year, and Ape Properties appealed. However, a government inspector has dismissed the appeal on the grounds the scheme will affect the provision of local services and facilities.

Plans to extend 139 Hampton Lane were refused by NFDC (picture: Google)
Plans to extend 139 Hampton Lane were refused by NFDC (picture: Google)

The inspector said: “The appeal site is within the designated local shopping frontage of Blackfield and is currently occupied and in use as a retail baker.

“Planning strategy seeks to prevent the loss of an occupied shop or service use that provides for everyday community needs, unless evidence is provided for active and comprehensive marketing of the site for its current use.”

That, the inspector added, would have to “demonstrate the existing use is not commercially sustainable”.

The developer maintained that changes to town and country planning policies had expanded the “scope of permitted development rights, enabling more flexibility and changes of use in shopping areas without the need for planning permission”.

But the inspector did not find in his favour and said the flats would not represent a “positive benefit” to the village.

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