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Outlines plans by Bargate Homes and Vivid Homes for 110 homes new in Pennington agreed by New Forest District Council planning committee

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TRAFFIC and access concerns failed to convince New Forest District Council’s planning committee to refuse outline plans for 110 homes in Pennington.

The scheme, jointly submitted by developers Bargate Homes and Vivid Homes, sought permission to build the homes on land south of the A337 Milford Road – with a commitment that 50% would be affordable.

Speaking on behalf of the Lymington Society, Dr Don Mackenzie warned that despite being an “attractive scheme” when combined with others in the pipeline, three new access points could be added to the already busy A337 within 50m of each other.

An artist's impression of the plans
An artist's impression of the plans

He said: “Is it sensible to defer the major [highway] improvements needed and just take account of this development, or should we really be planning a development access that can accommodate all these four developments that are likely to come forward.”

The site, which is located on fields close to the Efford Waste and Recycling Centre, was previously allocated for housing development in NFDC’s Local Plan. Another area north of the road is set for a separate application for 140 homes, also by Bargate.

A report by NFDC’s ecologist and urban design officer noted the applicants had “significantly amended their proposal” to address concerns, such as retaining another hectare of lowland meadow, fen and coastal and floodplain grazing marsh, and including a larger area of public open space along the western boundary.

Planning officer Richard Natt said changes meant the scheme now retained a significant proportion of the most valuable green space and it had been designed to “fit around the habitat”.

Recommending that planning permission should be granted, Mr Natt said officers were pleased with the “good quality design and layout”, adding the outline application had been significantly amended, resulting in a “much more positive layout design” with a “better relationship to the greenbelt edge”.

Scheme agent Ryan Johnson said the application had come forward after several years of planning and many amendments, and would provide much needed affordable homes in a high quality location.

Land south of Milford Road in Pennington where the homes are planned
Land south of Milford Road in Pennington where the homes are planned

But opposing the application, Kevin Pritchard said the scheme would result in an extra 200 cars using the A337, adding noise, traffic and pollution. He continued: “I simply cannot believe that any respectable survey has found it acceptable to have another entrance to this estate this close to the already dangerous entrance to the waste and recycling centre.”

The application also generated 30 letters of objection raising concerns about overdevelopment, local infrastructure pressure and the impact on the local ecology and wildlife, including deer, bats, reptiles and buzzards. Three people wrote in support, noting the plan would provide badly needed affordable housing.

Debating the outline application Cllr Ann Sevier said she was confident that proposed highway changes would make it safer for traffic entering the HWRC, as well as the proposed estate.

Cllr Maureen Holding said proposed highway improvements should be done before work on the site started, adding: “This is an absolutely lovely development but I do still worry about the road there.”

After a lengthy debate, outline planning permission was granted by seven votes to three.

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