Plans for 55 homes on site fronting Jumpers roundabout in Christchurch refused amid fierce opposition
PLANS for 55 homes in a prominent roundabout location in Christchurch have been thrown out in the face of overwhelming opposition.
The application by property developer Fortitudo Ltd for a site fronting Jumpers roundabout, on the corner of Barrack Road and The Grove, had sparked 275 letters of objection from residents.
Christchurch Town Council, Natural England and BCP Council's highways team were also opposed to the scheme, which would have built a four-storey block of 51 one and two-bedroom flats and a terrace of four houses adjacent to the Tesco petrol station.
Council officers recommended the proposals be turned down in their report to the authority's planning committee, citing a "clear reason for refusal on flood risk grounds".
They also highlighted a "poor living environment" for potential occupants of the site due to a lack of access to balconies and outside space.
The report also pointed out that residents in neighbouring properties would be directly overlooked by the development, and criticised the scheme's cycle parking as "deficient".
It argued there was far less of a need for flats than houses in the area, and the council's trees and landscaping team said it could not support the plan due to the "negative impact" it would have on the character of the local landscape.
Officers pointed to evidence that trees near to the site had already been removed to facilitate development.
Local residents urged refusal on various grounds, including the impact on surrounding roads that are already "snarled up", added pressure on local schools, GP surgeries and hospitals, and environmental impact.
Councillors agreed that the development was cramped and "excessive in scale". One even likened it to a "huge prison block".
Cllr Simon McCormack conceded it was a "good development site" but said it was "the most prominent example of over-development he had seen while sitting on the committee".
Richard Carr, chief executive of Fortitudo, told the committee: "The design of this building is based on buildings at Christchurch Hospital, which won a civic award in 1991.
"The urban design officer wanted to see contemporary buildings on this site, which I refused to entertain. This is a gateway site to Christchurch which should showcase some of the town's character."
Cllr Paul Hilliard said there was "no comparison" to the town's hospital, adding: "It may be scrubland, but it is currently not a waste of space."
The developer had argued the scheme would help boost housing supply in an area that is currently "unable to demonstrate a five-year supply".
It said: "It is considered overall that the proposed scale of this flatted block would complement the area, and would be an appropriate landmark building fronting this roundabout junction of the A35, along a prime transport corridor which is a gateway into Christchurch town centre."
Members refused the plans by eight votes to six.