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Developer runs out of time on plan to pump sewage into stream

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Vernon Dene is still under construction
Vernon Dene is still under construction

AN application by the owner of a development for 85 mobile homes to pump sewage into a New Forest stream has been withdrawn.

Park One Developments Ltd, which owns the Vernon Dene site at North Ripley, between Ringwood and Bransgore, wanted a permit from the Environment Agency (EA) to discharge 54 cubic metres per day of secondary treated wastewater into a tributary of Sopley Brook.

However, that application has been withdrawn by the EA because the developer was unable to provide the information which was requested within a specified time.

As reported in the A&T, Park One bought the site for £2.5m in 2018. There was uproar when plans subsequently emerged to develop the site, which it could do without needing planning permission.

While the near-2.6-hectare field had previously accommodated only a handful of touring caravans, it was revealed a certificate of lawful use granted to former owner Jonathan Cox by the national park authority in 2008 put no restriction on numbers.

In granting the certificate, the NPA said it was satisfied the use had been in place for a period of at least 10 years and therefore it had no grounds to refuse.

Park One was then granted a licence by New Forest District Council for 86 units on site, with the NPA’s executive director of strategy and planning, Steve Avery, confirming it could do nothing to stop the redevelopment.

Mr Avery also warned while such “loopholes” existed, its ability to protect the New Forest from “inappropriate development” was “seriously undermined”. He added the NPA had written to the government asking for a review of the planning legislation in national parks.

In the developer’s marketing brochure for the Vernon Dene development, it says it will produce 85 “highly individual properties in a delightfully unspoilt setting located between Christchurch and Ringwood” that will combine “uncompromised modern luxury with a rare setting within the beautiful New Forest National Park”.

The bungalows will be an example of “the highest standard of single-storey living”, it adds, and are exclusively for semi-retired and retired people aged over 45.

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