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Redrow denies inaction claims after letters from Network Rail and South Western Railway over Lymington Shores footbridge

THE row over a footbridge at a Lymington site has deepened over claims the developer has yet to approach organisations to further progress the plans.

The crossing to the town’s railway station was agreed when Redrow Homes won permission in 2012 for Lymington Shores, which saw 168 properties built on the former Webbs chicken factory site off Bridge Road.

After construction on the bridge stalled, Redrow asked NFDC in 2021 to effectively drop the requirement. In April last year the High Court threw out its latest appeal over the scheme. There are still 17 open-market homes on site which cannot be sold until the bridge has been delivered.

A CGI of the planned pedestrian bridge linking Lymington Shores with the town centre
A CGI of the planned pedestrian bridge linking Lymington Shores with the town centre

In November, Redrow insisted its hands were tied as it awaited approval from Hampshire County Council, South Western Railway, Network Rail and the Department for Transport.

However, correspondence seen by the A&T between New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne, Network Rail, South Western Railway and the Lymington Society suggests both rail bodies are still waiting on Redrow to get in touch.

This emerged after town campaign group the Lymington Society had asked Sir Desmond to write to the stakeholders over Redrow’s delay claims. The rail firms’ replies to the MP were shared with the society who showed them to the A&T.

Jonny Nesbitt, head of stakeholder and community engagement in the southern region for Network Rail, contacted Sir Desmond saying there had been no communication with Redrow for months.

Mr Nesbitt wrote: “We have been working with local stakeholders for almost 10 years on this scheme and have prepared a number of asset protection agreements to facilitate the construction of a bridge (notwithstanding any access or land-related requirements). That said, we have not had any communication from the developer in several months, but have since learnt there has been a change in personnel at Redrow.”

The letter continues: “Once Redrow have engaged accordingly with the local council, they have confirmed they will be in touch with us to discuss the revised scheme in more detail. We will of course engage collaboratively with them, as we seek to understand the latest information on the scheme and how it could operate safely alongside the railway.”

The Lymington Shores development, built by Redrow
The Lymington Shores development, built by Redrow

And South Western Railway’s senior stakeholder and public affairs manager, Matthew Evans, said: “South Western Railway remains supportive of the principle of this new bridge, noting it is the responsibility of the developer Redrow Homes to deliver it.

“Our station property team responded to Redrow’s appointed consultant i-Transport earlier [in 2023], confirming this position and offering to assist with the various railway industry processes which need to be completed.

“They have not heard anything further from i-Transport or Redrow since that time. As and when they respond, we are ready to assist.”

In response, Mr Paine said: “We disagree with any suggestion that we are not working to resolve this situation.

“Unfortunately, there are still some fundamental issues with the proposed works and further review is required in order to meet the needs of all parties involved.

“We continue to engage with multiple contacts as we actively work towards a positive resolution. This is clearly in the interest of residents at Lymington Shores, Redrow, and the wider community with a number of completed homes that remain vacant due to this planning requirement, which cannot be fulfilled as things currently stand.

“My team and I are happy to meet with Sir Desmond Swayne or any other interested parties that can help as we work to unlock this issue.”

When pressed, a Redrow spokesperson would not elaborate on what the “fundamental issues” were, and said until the review was completed, there would be no further comment.

A spokesperson from NFDC said there had been no breach of planning control, adding: “We believe Redrow are aware of the current expectations placed upon them pertaining to the remaining units on the site.”

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