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NFDC cabinet gives thumbs up to New Forest home protection paper

POLICIES designed to help shield the New Forest from the impact of thousands of new homes were welcomed by district councillors.

The Mitigation for Recreational Impacts document sets out to developers ways in which the council expects them to mitigate the effect more housing will have.

That includes providing new schemes or funding for projects designed to boost Forest maintenance, such as employing more rangers.

There are claims the New Forest is in danger of becoming like a theme park (Photo: Graham Wiffen)
There are claims the New Forest is in danger of becoming like a theme park (Photo: Graham Wiffen)

New Forest District Council's ruling cabinet unanimously voted to add the policy to supplementary papers for its Local Plan – a keystone document which sets out development in the district outside of the national park until 2036 with up to 10,000 new homes.

They backed it after hearing there were 40 respondents to a public consultation, and "broad support" for its overall ambitions. Some amendments will be made in response to issues raised.

Backbencher Cllr Maureen Holding said she believed it was "one of the most important papers we have had for a long time".

She added: "People have complained about the national park and the whole area becoming a theme park and I think this goes a long way towards full protection."

The 65-page habitat document gives design guidance of how on-site recreation mitigation should be provided by developers and how they can pursue "alternative recreational opportunities" to deflect potential visits away from the New Forest's most sensitive areas.

It also suggests ways of managing and educating visitors and monitoring the effectiveness of mitigation measures.

If the paper is ratified by the full council, a three-month window will open to allow any-one with an interest to launch a legal challenge against it, before it is formally adopted.

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