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Date for public consultation on new community space in Milford

The development of The Swifts at Milford is nearing completion
The development of The Swifts at Milford is nearing completion

A PUBLIC consultation will be launched later this month to plan the development of a new community space in Milford, with suggestions of sports pitches and wildlife zones.

The site on fields adjacent to the village primary school on Lymington Road is set to be handed over to Milford Parish Council shortly after 22nd May when developer Pennyfarthing Homes anticipates work will be completed on its 42-unit estate The Swifts next door.

The land is part of a site which was earmarked for public amenity use when a government planning inspector agreed agricultural fields could be declassified as greenbelt to enable the development.

Part of the site has already been added to with a pick-up zone for the school, and two children’s play areas are set be finished by May. The site will also feature eight allotments and a soakaway pond area with planting.

But the remaining area, of about 2.2 hectares, could be developed with sports pitches, running tracks or wildlife areas, following a survey of the village.

At an online parish council meeting on Monday, parish clerk Graham Wells revealed the consultation would open on 15th March and run until the end of April.

He said: “We are really hoping to get lots of feedback from the community. We will be promoting the consultation in the Village Voice magazine, launching a Survey Monkey via our website, putting up information on our noticeboards and also reaching out to community groups for their ideas.”

At the end of the consultation all suggestions will be “crystallised” into firm proposals and these will then be presented to the community for further feedback.

Mr Wells said: “It is a fairly substantial area of land so it is entirely possible that we may be able to encompass several of the ideas that come forward during the consultation phase.

“The community has had to stomach 42 new houses so it would be really good for everyone to have a say in how they would like to see it developed.”

As part of the deal with Pennyfarthing, the parish council has also been handed a £182,000 one-off payment to maintain and develop the site.

New Forest District Council will take full responsibility for a parking and drop-off zone in a northern area of the site, and the parish will maintain everything else.

As the landowner, the parish council will be required to maintain the play facilities, as well as oversee the allotments, cut the grass and trim the hedges. It could cost up to £8,000 a year.

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