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Land at Whartons Lane, Ashurst, considered for 62 new homes

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RESIDENTS have spoken out against plans by a developer to build 62 homes – half of which would be designated "affordable" – on agricultural land in Ashurst.

Vivid Homes has submitted a planning application to the national park authority for 2.62-hectares off Whartons Lane, currently used for grazing.

The application stated the development would be a mixture of two and three-bedroom homes plus one and two-bed flats.

Land in Whartons Lane in Ashurst could be developed with 62 homes (picture: Google)
Land in Whartons Lane in Ashurst could be developed with 62 homes (picture: Google)

Of the 31 affordable properties, 22 would be available for social rent and nine for shared ownership.

Residents say there is no need for the development, but the site has been identified in the NPA Local Plan set of policies for around 60 homes.

The NPA has so far received 24 letters of objection, with concerns over the loss of green space, and the impact on traffic and amenities.

One wrote: "A development of this size would be a great shame, it will affect the lovely charm and feeling of Ashurst. Ashurst is a village and should remain a small community, not become overdeveloped like West Totton and Ashurst Bridge."

Another said: "The introduction of new properties of increased density, including flats and affordable housing, is likely to have a negative impact on the property prices of existing properties on Whartons Lanes and Whartons Close.

"This can have a direct financial impact which generates worry and stress and impacting standard of living. I wholeheartedly object to this development which is detrimental to the surrounding area."

Concern has also been raised over the lack of public consultation in the form of exhibitions or meetings. In the application Vivid Homes responded: "Although it has not been possible to consult the local community due to the global pandemic caused by Covid-19, the public was consulted during the examination process required to allocate the site for housing within the adopted development plan."

The application added: "The provision of affordable and family housing on this site will allow more families to live here longer and become part of the local community.

"The provision of a mix of home sizes and tenures allows a broad social mix to develop to strengthen local communities.

"The development will provide a new, well landscaped development, remaining appropriate to its landscape character and visual amenity, provide open spaces for residents and the wider community and create an accessible network of paths linked to the existing settlement."

If approved, vehicle access will be from a new junction on Whartons Lane. The development will provide 118 parking spaces, including four visitor spaces.

Cllr Caroline Hubbard, chair of Ashurst and Colbury Parish Council, told the A&T its planning committee was due to discuss the application on 15th June.

She added: "The parish council is encouraging residents to make their comments about the Whartons Lane planning application on the New Forest National Park Authority website – our planning committee will take them into consideration in their discussions.

"We have pointed out to residents, through social media, that development will take place as it is a designated site in the Local Plan. Our recommendation to the NPA will be based on planning policy and procedures."

Asked about the lack of public meetings, she said: "We are limited in terms of numbers due to Covid restrictions until at least 21st June. The planning committee meeting will be limited to eight members of the public, who will need to register their intention to attend with the parish clerk beforehand. The parish council has been granted an extension to consider the application. and the full consideration of the planning application will be at our July meeting, when hopefully restrictions will have been removed.

The NPA is expected to make a decision after the public consultation period ends on 1st July.

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