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New Milton Neighbourhood Plan set to undergo changes after town council calls for review





CHANGES are set to be made to New Milton’s “community-led” hyper-local vision which includes creating a new youth centre and a community hub.

Adopted in May 2021 following a public referendum, the New Milton Neighbourhood Plan sets out policies for sites to develop or protect, design quality, and projects that could be paid for with extra cash.

But as parts of the document are now around eight years old, town councillors called for it to be reviewed to update some of its current policies.

An early artist’s impression of how New Milton Memorial Centre could be transformed as a cultural and community hub
An early artist’s impression of how New Milton Memorial Centre could be transformed as a cultural and community hub

The amendments were discussed at a recent planning committee meeting, when members heard most of the policies were expected to be retained.

An action plan is currently being drawn up in collaboration with contractor ONeill Homer.

Planning clerk Theresa Elliott told the A&T afterwards: “Members felt that a review of the plan was necessary as nearly 10 years have passed since the original plan, with previous projects and aspirations having changed in part.

“There are also a number of issues members wished to include, such as a local list to raise the status of certain buildings in the area, which the listed buildings working party have been doing preparatory work on.”

The town council has purchased land behind The Barn restaurant on Gore Road for a planned new youth and family hub
The town council has purchased land behind The Barn restaurant on Gore Road for a planned new youth and family hub

Town development manager Chiara Rabbito, the council’s lead officer on neighbourhood planning, stressed the review was in its “very early stages”.

This meant there was nothing yet to report on what changes may be made.

But Ms Rabbito added: “We will, of course, do a public engagement once we have the review in hand.”

As reported in the A&T, the neighbourhood plan for 2016-36 was backed by a public vote of 6,702 in favour, with 781 against.

This was welcomed at the time by planning committee chair Cllr Steve Clarke as “a positive message from the community”.

The document’s vision includes a new youth facility following the sell-off by Hampshire County Council of the Phoenix Centre in Culver Road in 2017 after 30 years of use.

Outline planning permission from New Forest District Council has since been awarded to the town council for a site off Gore Road.

Following its purchase of the land for around £100,000 about six months ago, the town council has about two-and-a-half years to compile a full planning application.

The Neighbourhood Plan also outlines hopes the New Milton Memorial Centre in Whitefield Road can be transformed into an “iconic” cultural and community hub.

As well as this, it set out a vision for extra affordable homes for young people and families, along with new employment opportunities.

Its aims for the town centre cover shopping, living, working and leisure, with hopes for more new shops, as well as eateries to boost the night-time economy.

The document, which complies with NFDC’s overarching Local Plan – itself currently under review – is not binding but must be considered by developers and planners.

It can be viewed online at tinyurl.com/3whwyyae



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