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New Forest District Council approves application by Cala Homes Ltd for 198 new dwellings on land north of Station Road, Fordingbridge

PERMISSION for almost 200 new homes to be built in Fordingbridge has been granted by New Forest District Council.

As reported in the A&T, Cala Homes Ltd previously hoped to build 220 properties on land north of Station Road, before reducing it to 206 and then further again to 198.

The land north of Station Road at Ashford, near Fordingbridge (picture: Google)
The land north of Station Road at Ashford, near Fordingbridge (picture: Google)

The homes would be a mixture of one, two, three and four-bedroom properties, including apartments, bungalows and houses.

Of these, 42 properties would be earmarked as affordable. This would include a mixture of social rent, affordable rent and shared ownership.

The application was discussed at a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Wednesday, which heard policy states 50% of properties should be affordable.

However, a report to members said the offer of 21% was “reasonable and fair” and explained it was the first development in Fordingbridge to deliver social rent properties.

The scheme also includes the provision of two play areas and more than 20 acres of previously private land opened for public use.

The application received a “significant” number of objections, the meeting heard, with 159 letters from residents.

How the development will look (picture: Cala Homes)
How the development will look (picture: Cala Homes)

Concerns were raised over a loss of green space, insufficient affordable housing, the impact of noise, dust and construction traffic during building, the additional flood risk and impact on local biodiversity.

The cumulative impact of other developments in Fordingbridge was also raised, with six either already approved or in the process of being considered.

Fordingbridge Parish Council also objected on the grounds the scheme would put further pressure on services such as doctors’ surgeries and dentists, the impact of construction traffic on the area, and the loss of privacy and light for nearby residents.

A report to members recommended the scheme for approval on the grounds of “substantial public benefits” including “much-needed” open market and affordable housing.

Cllr Philip Dowd said the social rent aspect of the application was “crucial” and added: “We have people who cannot afford affordable housing, cannot afford any kind of housing, so that is important to consider.

“I think it is an attractive development. My heart goes out to the community who are seeing land around them nibbled away – but we need housing and on the basis of that I support the development.”

Cllr Joe Reilly agreed, saying: “Forty-five affordable houses is a great number – we can always do with more, but 45 is a good start for this and I would support it.”

Members voted seven-to-two in favour of the scheme, with one abstention.

Speaking after the meeting, Cala Homes’ land and planning director John Richards said: “The approval means we can now realise our plans to create a green and sustainable new

neighbourhood which will address local housing need by providing a range of fantastic homes available through both private sale and affordable means.

“As we bring forward our development we will ensure we make a positive contribution to wildlife habitats and green space on the site through a range of measures, resulting in a 10%

biodiversity net gain.”

He added: “We’re also committed to making sure our development delivers genuine social value for the wider community through our community pledge scheme and look forward to working in partnership with community groups and organisations across Ashford and Fordingbridge and the surrounding areas as part of this.”

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