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'Car-free' development of nine flats on Somerford Road in Christchurch given go-ahead

PLANS to build a “car-free” development of nine flats in Christchurch have been given the go-ahead despite neighbours warning it will intensify parking problems.

Fox Homes has won permission from BCP Council to demolish a four-bedroom house in Somerford Road to make way for a three-storey block of two-bedroom apartments.

It will have a cycle store for 20 bikes but only two parking spaces, reserved for visitors.

The site on Somerford Road (picture: Google)
The site on Somerford Road (picture: Google)

In its application, the developer pointed to planning policy allowing limited parking to encourage use of bicycles and public transport over cars.

But nearby residents said parking was already a problem around the area and the flats would make it worse.

One resident said in an objection: “There is not enough parking on site. This will mean off-site parking in neighbouring roads like Key Close and Somerford Way."

Another added:“We feel that so many flats without adequate parking spaces for residents would lead to further congestion on Somerford Road.”

But Fox Homes argued there were “strong transport links on Somerford Road” and people purchasing the flats would know it had no residents' parking.

A council planning report said the site was in a “sustainable location with bus stops along the road, and it is walking distance from a number of shops and services”.

It added that having no parking would “discourage residents from owning vehicles and encourage the use of more sustainable modes of transport”.

A financial contribution from Fox Homes would be sought, it said, to extend double yellow lines to the front of the site on both sides of Somerford Road.

That would help prevent flat residents and visitors parking in those areas, it said, and “ensure the development remains car free”.

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