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BCP Council dismisses plan for 39 homes at Barrack Road roundabout in Christchurch after flooding fears

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PLANS for 39 homes on a "gateway" Christchurch site have been dismissed by BCP Council after flooding fears.

Fortitudo Ltd applied to build 35 flats and four houses on land at the corner of The Grove and Barrack Road.

The proposal included 23 one-bedroom flats, 12 two-bed flats and four two-bed houses.

Included in the plans was 15 parking spaces and 61 cycle spaces.

A CGI of the scheme
A CGI of the scheme

In documents submitted to the council, the developer said it would also pay an undisclosed sum in lieu of affordable housing on the site and £20,000 for a new bus shelter nearby.

The outline plans were submitted following a previous scheme for 55 homes, consisting of 51 flats and four houses, which was turned down by the committee last December.

The meeting heard the layout of the site had not changed from the previous scheme but the building height had been reduced from four-storeys to three.

A meeting of the council's planning committee on Thursday in last week heard how the site was currently in a medium-risk flood zone, but was likely to become high risk in the future.

As a result it failed a sequential test, which compares the development site with other available sites over their flood risks.

Corner of Barrack Road and Grove Road in Christchurch (picture: Google)
Corner of Barrack Road and Grove Road in Christchurch (picture: Google)

Cllr Tony O'Neill told the meeting that the site, which houses advertising hoardings and portable toilets, was "a bit of an eyesore". He added: "I think this is a site well overdue for development. It is a clever and appropriate use of the site – it sits on a main traffic and bus route. Nearby there are plenty of walks to access outside space."

Cllr Marion Le Poidevin said: "This is very much a gateway into Christchurch. I can't see why there is so much local opposition. To me, it is a great improvement. It reminds me very much of a traditional seafront hotel

She added the committee had approved another planning application further along the road which was also in the flood zone.

However, Cllr Simon McCormack said: "This development clearly fails the sequential test. My grandparents often told me a story about how they rode their motorboat down this area, it flooded so bad. We can't be sure it won't happen again and if this development cannot be protected against that we should be refusing it on that basis, otherwise what is the point of having these policies?

Cllr Malcolm Davies agreed and said: "My main concern is the problem with the flooding and this was before we had the the problems that we have now with global warming. I can remember when that river burst and it wasn't just a couple of inches of water, it was a serious level of water. To my mind it does worry me that we're [considering] allowing this when we don't have the sequential test. I just can't bring myself to support it I'm afraid."

Members voted in favour of following the officer's recommendation to refuse the plans.

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