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Hammersley Homes defends plan for Lyndhurst B&B Little Hayes after raft of objections



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A CHARITY planning to open a residential home in Lyndhurst for people with mental illness has denied it could be used to house “drug addicts, alcoholics or criminals”.

Hammersley Homes hopes to purchase Little Hayes B&B in Romsey Road and transform it into its first supported home for adults.

Founder and chair of trustees Louise Hallett said she was “disappointed” after Lyndhurst Parish Council withdrew its support for an application to the national park authority for a change of use.

The B&B is currently on the market (picture: Google)
The B&B is currently on the market (picture: Google)

If approved, it would become a long-term home for five people but concerns have been raised over a “lack of clarity” about how it would be used, and more than 50 objections have been lodged.

But Ms Hallett told the A&T: “It seems that this decision was based on misunderstanding our application and minor inaccuracies.

“There was concern about the type of person living at the home.

“They are not drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals – these are people who suffer from enduring mental health challenges and that’s all.

“All residents would be vetted and full risk assessments carried out.”

At a meeting of the parish council, chair Cllr Chris Willsher explained that the planning committee had heard from the applicant in January and put forward a recommendation of approval to the NPA.

Since then 54 letters of objection had been submitted, however, resulting in the full council gathering to reconsider the application.

There have also been 13 letters of support.

Cllr Wilsher added: “I am sorry for the charity. We are not opposed to supporting adults with mental health problems in the community. It is the lack of clarity in the application that has us worried.”

Planning chair Cllr Graham Reeve told the meeting he sympathised with the charity but said there were “several anomalies” in the application.

That included information that the home would be staffed, he said, which conflicted with a later suggestion that volunteers would attend “as and when”.

A day centre was also referred to on the charity’s website but was not included in the application, which would affect traffic movements, he added.

Ms Hallett told the A&T the charity would not consider having a day centre at Little Hayes as it was “too small and not an appropriate location”.

She added trained staff would work at the home which would be run by an organisation which specialises in the management of supported housing projects.

The charity is currently attempting to raise £300,000 to pay for a deposit on the property, which is currently for sale.

So far just over £50,000 has been donated.

Councillors voted unanimously to rescind their previous support for the scheme and submitted a new recommendation of refusal.

Cllr George Bisson, who is a member of the NPA’s planning committee, abstained.

The NPA is expected to make a decision soon.



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