Controversial Lymington police station development plan to go back to New Forest District Council for full re-debate after Lymington Society complaint
CAMPAIGNERS have been boosted in their bid to block plans to demolish Lymington police station and build 32 retirement flats.
There was outcry when New Forest District Council’s planning committee deferred Churchill Retirement Living’s proposal for the homes at the Southampton Road site.
The decision sparked anger because it was understood that, under meeting rules, the decision had effectively greenlit the scheme, as long as NFDC officers agreed how much Churchill should pay for off-site affordable housing.
It offered £584,000 but NFDC wants a figure closer to £1.5m.
However, this week the council confirmed the proposal will return to the planning committee at a future date to be debated “in its entirety”.
A spokesperson told the A&T: “It had always been envisaged that the item would go back in full to the planning committee.”
When the deferral decision was made it was branded a “disgrace” by Cllr Andy Ash-Vie, the chair of Lymington and Pennington Town Council’s planning committee, who stormed out of the meeting.
Since then there has also been a complaint by civic group the Lymington Society which was opposed to the scheme.
The society told the A&T its chair, Clive Sutton, created a transcript of the meeting and sent a letter to NFDC with his “concerns as to the procedure which had been adopted”.
In response, NFDC interim chief executive Colin Read said he had held discussions with chief planning officer Claire Upton-Brown and the executive head of governance and regulation, Grainne O’Rourke, and promised a full new debate.
Mr Sutton said: “We are concerned that if a stand is not made in relation to this application, then every residential street leading to and from the centre of the town is at risk of a further application for dense development for occupation by the elderly.”
Churchill argued there was a “significant pressing need” for retirement housing in the district.
It also highlighted that a plan for 40 retirement homes at nearby Stanford Hill was rejected by NFDC, only to be approved on appeal.
But its plan has not been popular: 1,400 signed an opposition petition, the town council objected, and 76 people wrote objections to NFDC. Not one person wrote in favour.