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Hospice welcomes developer safeguards in plan for neighbouring 100 homes

There will be a buffer strip between the hospice and proposed new homes
There will be a buffer strip between the hospice and proposed new homes

OAKHAVEN Hospice has welcomed safeguards it has negotiated with a developer behind draft plans for about 100 homes next to its site in Pennington which has sparked protests by local residents.

The land between Ridgeway Lane and Lower Pennington Lane, known as Site 6, is allocated for construction in New Forest District Council’s Local Plan.

NFDC members recently voted overwhelmingly to back the strategy, which sets out development policies outside the national park for 10,500 homes by 2036. They did so despite some members suggesting Site 6 be taken out.

When the plot was originally identified Oakhaven Hospice voiced unease about the impact on the peace and quiet of its patients.

However, speaking to the A&T, chief executive Andrew Ryde said its concerns had been mitigated by policies in the Local Plan, which include a buffer strip between the facility and new homes.

He said: “The hospice is grateful for the constructive manner in which the owners and their representatives have worked with us in an attempt to address these concerns.

“These discussions have exceeded the requirements of the amended policy which, in our view, will help in reducing the negative impact of the development.

“A legal document is being drafted that will specify the detail of the proposed buffer strip and additional parking, reflecting the heads of terms that have already been agreed. We are grateful that the owners have worked with us to try to address some of the concerns.”

While Oakhaven understood the concerns of many locals, it also “recognises the need for affordable housing within the area”, Mr Ryde stressed

As reported in the A&T, the site is being promoted by developer Cicero Estates. Its director, Jason Lewis, had claimed the housing could bring a £2m contribution to the local economy to improve schools, healthcare facilities, road infrastructure and footpath links.

He said the development will feature “badly needed” affordable housing, adding: “There are some shocking statistics such as that in this particular part of the world there is a 15-year wait for an affordable housing unit.”

Opponents have not given up, however, and Bruce Tindall, chair of the Pennington and Lymington Lanes Society (PALLS) pressure group, said it was considering its next move.

He told the A&T: “Despite the many opportunities to properly consult as they could and should have done, the council may now find themselves in a wholly avoidable legal difficulty.

“PALLS is considering its options while hoping that, even at this late stage, councillors will work with us to protect the green lanes and Oakhaven Hospice, and do their best to mitigate the problems they have created through their lack of meaningful consultation and their complete disregard for the concerns of the community.”

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