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Plans for 79 homes on Lyndhurst Park Hotel site are backed by parish council

Lyndhurst Park Hotel closed in 2014
Lyndhurst Park Hotel closed in 2014

THE redevelopment of the former Lyndhurst Park Hotel has received the backing of the parish council, despite confirmation it would include just eight affordable homes.

The application for the property, which is owned by Christchurch-based Hoburne Development, was discussed at a meeting of Lyndhurst Parish Council yesterday (Tuesday).

Members voted in favour of recommending the application be approved by the NPA with five in favour and three against. There was also one abstention.

Hoburne Development bought the 60-bed hotel, parts of which were designed by Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, from retirement housebuilder PegasusLife which previously made a number of failed attempts to win permission for flats.

The new proposals for the landmark plot involve retaining part of the existing building, which has already started to fall down in places, as well as constructing three commercial units along the High Street.

The scheme would comprise six houses and 73 flats, with 115 parking spaces. Speaking on behalf of Hoburne, Giles Moir said viability assessments had shown it would not be feasible to involve affordable homes in the scheme.

However, recognising the need in the area, the company had decided to include eight one bedroom properties which would be available for shared ownership. This would result in an impact on profits, he added.

New designs for the Lyndhurst Park Hotel (picture: Arc Architecture)
New designs for the Lyndhurst Park Hotel (picture: Arc Architecture)

Commenting on the suggestion that the number of homes appeared to clash with the NPA’s planning policy which has designated the 1.6-hectare site for just 50 properties, of which half should be affordable, plus tourism uses, Mr Moir said the plan did not state a maximum of 50 but instead said “around 50”.

He added the development was also eligible for vacant building credit, a government scheme which applies to buildings brought back to use which can negate the need for a contribution for affordable homes.

Parish chair, Cllr Chris Willsher, said he would have liked to have seen more affordable homes but felt the overall design was good. He added: “Is it everything I wanted? No. I do worry about some of the issues but equally I am worried about the derelict site staying there for eternity. Are we likely to get anything better? I’m not sure.”

Cllr Fiona Green thanked Hoburne for its “commitment and dedication” to the village and said the relationship had been markedly different from previous developers.

She added: “The ground we have made and the positives it brings is superb. We are never going to get a perfect proposal, but it brings many, many positives for the village.”

Cllr Brice Straford, who abstained from the vote, said: “It fails to live up to so many policies and it should not be that the reason we are voting for it is the fear we might get something worse. This is the first proposal from this developer and I think they have made a very good start but I think the proposal doesn’t justify itself in terms of public benefit.”

Councillors had also raised concerns about the impact on infrastructure, including doctors’ surgeries and schools which were said to be close to capacity, and queried whether three new shops were needed when the village already had vacant properties.

A decision is expected to be made soon by the NPA’s planning committee.

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