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New plan to make Highcliffe ‘flat-free’

A revitalisation of the high street is second on the plan’s list of priorities
A revitalisation of the high street is second on the plan’s list of priorities

THE aim to make Highcliffe a “flat-free zone” is at the heart of a new Neighbourhood Plan after residents said too many have been built.

Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council have just released the draft document containing hyper-local planning policies. As well as giving the community more influence, they can also unlock extra funding from developers’ contributions.

Cllr Nigel Brooks was part of a sub-committee which has spent 18 months creating the document, based on feedback received from three public consultations. He said: “Number one priority is to get a healthy mix of housing.

“We do not need any more apartment blocks in Highcliffe. At present we have 50 already. Another 137 flats have been given the go-ahead while applications for a further 29 are currently being considered.

“A lot of these will be lived in by an elderly population who will put stress on medical and other resources. Instead, people want more houses which will attract young families to the village.

“Highcliffe residents said they really have had enough of flats and would like to see a ‘flat-free zone’ in the future.”

The parish council said apartment blocks should be allowed only if they are a BCP Council-sponsored project which will include affordable housing.

It said its Neighbourhood Plan is aimed at helping Highcliffe become a “safe, successful, vibrant and attractive place to live, work and visit”.

Second on the list of priorities is the revitalisation of the high street which the parish council said can be achieved by lowering the speed limit to 20mph, improving parking and installing two zebra crossings.

Councillors also want to encourage a better range of shops, an outdoor market and more al fresco dining.

Another priority is maintaining local green spaces. The parish council said there are green corridors – such as highway verges, front gardens and areas set aside for landscaping – which many people view as valuable parts of the area’s outdoor spaces.

As a result, the draft plan states that if any become part of a redevelopment site, the pressure on infilling should not “diminish” the value of such areas.

Residents said they also wanted an improvement in the pedestrian and cycle network, which the document says should be a consideration when redevelopment of a site is being planned.

Neighbourhood Plans are not binding and must also follow BCP Council’s overarching development rules. But once formalised the guidelines must be considered by developers and planners when designing and deciding applications.

Residents are being asked to give their feedback to the draft proposals by 8th March. Once it has been formalised it will be submitted to BCP Council.

To view the Neighbourhood Plan visit www.highcliffewalkfordplan.org.uk To leave feedback visit www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HWNP-Reg14

Once the plan has been agreed by BCP Council, it will have to be approved by a referendum of parish voters.

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