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Developer must stump up £1.7m to expand schools if given green light for 400 homes in Fordingbridge

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Pennyfarthing Homes wants to build 403 homes on the site
Pennyfarthing Homes wants to build 403 homes on the site

A £1.7M contribution to expand local schools will be needed if a developer is granted permission to build just over 400 new homes in Fordingbridge, according to Hampshire County Council.

Pennyfarthing Homes wants to build on land to the west of Whitsbury Road, in addition to plans previously reported in the A&T for 63 homes at Tinkers Cross.

Both locations are earmarked as strategic development sites in New Forest District Council’s Local Plan.

A spokesperson for the company told the A&T it also intends to submit a third proposal for around 450 homes later this year for a site north of its existing Augustus Park development.

Responding to the 403-home application, HCC said the funding was necessary, as without expansion Fordingbridge Infant and Junior schools could not accommodate the additional pupils.

A letter on behalf of HCC’s children’s services department said: “The proposed development of 403 dwellings would be expected to generate a total of 121 additional primary age children and 85 secondary age pupils.

“The development site is served by Fordingbridge Infant and Junior schools, and the Burgate School and Sixth Form. The primary age phase schools are forecast to be full so in order to accommodate this anticipated yield of pupils a contribution [of £1.72m] will be sought.”

The application submitted to NFDC is for a 29-hectare site, which is currently agricultural land. It also seeks permission to create a new access road and roundabout on Whitsbury Road and a bridge across Sweatfords Water.

The plan stated: “The scheme comprises around 400 high quality homes which will include a good range of house sizes, types and tenures to deliver market and affordable housing for young people, families and the elderly.

“The development will create a mixed community, accommodated within a carefully designed new suburban neighbourhood, with homes intelligently sited within a landscape setting to create a new rural edge, high quality streets and linked spaces, all of which will provide a positive and successful addition to Fordingbridge.”

The application has met with opposition from locals, however, with 92 objections received by NFDC. Among the concerns are the impact on infrastructure, increase in traffic, noise and light pollution, and the loss of open space.

One wrote: “The proposed development area is a lovely rural, clean air, peaceful area comprising fields for grazing, footpaths and much wildlife.

“It is used by walkers, cyclists and pedestrians getting away from urbanisation. It is one of Fordingbridge's greatest assets. Any development here should be minimal.”

Another added: “Fordingbridge must not become the dumping ground for developments not allowed within the New Forest National Park.”

The public consultation period ends on 21st May, after which NFDC is expected to make a decision.

Fordingbridge has seen a surge in planning applications recently. In addition to the two by Pennyfarthing Homes, there is currently an application from Mr and Mrs Weldon for 70 homes at St John’s Farm in Stuckton Road, which is expected to be decided in April.

A further 63-home development on land known as Burgate Acres by developer Metis Homes was approved last month by New Forest District Council’s planning committee.

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