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Traffic danger cited as New Milton councillors object to 169-home development off Brockhills Lane

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TRAFFIC danger and a lack of affordable homes were cited by New Milton town councillors as they objected to plans for a large housing development on former greenbelt land.

Pennyfarthing Homes has applied to New Forest District Council for an estate of 169 one to four-bedroom properties to the east of Brockhills Lane.

The scheme was branded overdevelopment by the town council’s planning committee, pointing to it being 30% bigger than the guideline 130 homes specified for the site, which is allocated for development in NFDC’s Local Plan.

New Milton Town Council's planning committee meeting held at the Memorial Centre
New Milton Town Council's planning committee meeting held at the Memorial Centre

At an extraordinary meeting, the committee unanimously voted to recommend NFDC turns down the proposal.

The promise that 50% of the homes would be affordable was rejected as 16% of these were discounted market dwellings.

Increased danger to motorists and pedestrians in the narrow Brockhills Lane and adjacent Sway Road were among concerns raised in impassioned speeches by people opposing the plan.

These included representatives of 360-strong campaign group Residents Against the Development of Brockhills Lane (RADBL).

169 homes are planned at the site
169 homes are planned at the site

Neill Crawford, who runs it with Ellie Francis, Laura Travis and Chris Forbes-Ritte, highlighted over 400 objections on NFDC’s planning website.

Calling the proposal “totally out of character”, he said it would have an unacceptable impact on traffic.

Opponents cited the distance from shops, schools, doctors’ surgeries and other amenities.

The land off Brockhills Lane (Photo: Google)
The land off Brockhills Lane (Photo: Google)

“This is hardly in keeping with the plan for a healthier, greener New Milton if we’re all forced into our cars,” Miss Francis said.

“Pedestrians have to walk in the road as there are no footpaths and, when they’re walking in the road, no two cars can pass each other in opposite directions.

“Lorries and huge coaches come down Brockhills Lane and in bad weather, with a flooded bend in the rain, it’s absolutely treacherous.

An artist's impression of the access road
An artist's impression of the access road

“Who will take responsibility for the first fatality which will inevitably occur?”

New Milton Residents’ Association also objected. Its planning secretary, Graham Jackson, said the local road network was “inadequate to support a large increase in vehicle movement”.

Young mother Joanna Barnes told the meeting she would never want her children to live on the estate as its distance from amenities would deprive them of independence.

“The biggest point is that it’s not safe for young families, and this is apparently what these homes are being built for,” she said.

“It also completely limits access to disabled people. I don’t want people to be stranded in their own homes.”

Cllr Helen Wallis-Dowling was among those who criticised a lack of “future-proofing” in the proposal, including alternative energy sources like solar panels and electric vehicle charging points.

Planning committee chair Cllr Steve Clarke accused Pennyfarthing of failing to listen to the town council during discussions concerning the New Milton Neighbourhood Plan.

“We want to see infrastructure, road structure and traffic structure that is fit for purpose,” he said.

The proposed layout
The proposed layout

“I think the affordable housing provision Pennyfarthing has put forward is cheating and they haven’t complied with policy. I’m not impressed on a number of points.”

Cllr David Hawkins argued the need for new housing should not come at a cost, saying: “People need to live with room and with safety, not crammed in like rabbit hutches.”

Delighted with the committee’s vote, RADBL told the A&T afterwards: “We know we need housing but that doesn’t mean we should accept a badly designed high density estate that will be an eyesore.”

A Pennyfarthing spokesperson said: “The planning application is at the consultation stage and we will continue to engage with the officers at New Forest District Council and others to bring forward this high-quality development of 169 homes, including much needed affordable housing, to meet local needs on this allocated housing site.”

NFDC’s final decision is scheduled by 26th November.

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