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Pennyfarthing submits full application for major 169-home estate off Brockhills Lane, New Milton

A FULL planning application has been submitted for a controversial major development of 169 new homes on greenbelt land at the edge of New Milton.

Local housing developer Pennyfarthing Homes has promised half of the dwellings in the estate proposed for land off Brockhills Lane will be affordable, but it has divided opinion among residents.

The application comprises a variety of one to four-bedroom properties, internal roads and footpaths, resident and visitor car parking; and site access with emergency access at Sway Road.

Artist's impression of access road to the proposed development off Brockhills Lane
Artist's impression of access road to the proposed development off Brockhills Lane

The location is a strategic housing site identified in the Local Plan formally approved by New Forest District Council in July 2020.

Road danger caused by an increase in vehicles, overwhelming pressure on schools and doctors’ surgeries; and harm to wildlife are among fears raised by opposing residents.

Pennyfarthing has maintained traffic surveys showed there would be no significant impact on the local road network.

It also vowed measures were being taken to address biodiversity issues, including creating alternative natural recreational greenspace (ANRG) to alleviate pressures on the New Forest National Park.

Pennyfarthing's proposed layout for the development off Brockhills Lane
Pennyfarthing's proposed layout for the development off Brockhills Lane

Those backing the proposals emphasised the need to address a national housing shortage, particularly that which is affordable.

On Monday morning, six out of seven public comments lodged on NFDC’s planning website were against the proposal.

Branding it “nothing more than a disaster”, an Oakwood Avenue resident said: “Brockhills Lane is currently not fit for purpose for the current volume of traffic, let alone increased traffic from the new proposed development.”

A Spring Lane resident warned the development would harm native animals and insects including bats, owls and deer, while also raising the road safety and amenities issues.

“Brockhills Lane is a country lane, hence the title, with no pavements and only limited space,” they wrote.

“Our schools, doctors and dentists are all oversubscribed, so with 169 more homes plus so many cars this is a disaster.

“All the lorries going down the roads close by will cause chaos. I therefore strongly object to this development taking place by greedy builders having no concern for the safety of the nearby residents.”

But one supporter, from Westbourne, wrote: “Looking to move back to the area, I would support the need for additional housing, many of which support families.”

Dozens took to Facebook to express views for and against, with some comparisons made to Pennyfarthing’s divisive 42-home development by Milford Primary School in Lymington Road.

One person wrote: “If it's anything like the current Milford-on-Sea development then this will be such a sad change to the semi-rural character of the local area.”

There was also scepticism over the affordable homes promise, with suspicions the percentage would be slashed after approval or it would only be “affordable” for the wealthier.

Fearing building on greenbelt land could set a precedent, one post said: “There will be no green spaces left soon. So they will start chopping away at the New Forest!”

But one commenter backing the proposal wrote: “Plenty of other fields out there! Very few houses. And the majority of people who moan will already own a house.”

Pennyfarthing said the proposal submission followed “several years” of work by its project team.

“These efforts have resulted in what we believe are the best possible proposals for this site, taking a wide range of aspects into consideration and incorporating feedback from the council, statutory consultees and the local community,” a spokesperson explained.

“There is a real opportunity here to deliver an attractive, high-quality development in a location that the council has allocated in the adopted Local Plan.

“We thank everyone who has contributed to bringing these exciting plans forward which will help local people, from starters to young families to downsizers, to find a suitable place to live.”

Pedestrian and cycle links have been redesigned, with the open space at the site’s southern side providing more foot and cycle paths.

The path to the east of the site has been moved further away from the Danes Stream in a bid to create a larger buffer to the stream to support local wildlife.

Pennyfarthing pointed out the homes now had a meandering village layout, rather than the initial more linear approach to be more in keeping with surroundings and create a rural feel.

It promised a “substantial” increase in tree and hedgerow planting to support biodiversity and residential amenity as well as shield the development from outside views.

NFDC’s public consultation ends on 1st October, before the final decision is made by 26th November.

To view or comment on the application, visit https://planning.newforest.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=_NEWFO_DCAPR_215059

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