Redrow blames Hampshire County Council, Department for Transport, South Western Railway and Network Rail for Lymington Shores bridge delay
THERE is no end in sight in the ongoing battle for the construction of a disputed footbridge at a Lymington housing development.
As reported in the A&T, the crossing to the town’s railway station was agreed when Redrow Homes won permission in 2012 for Lymington Shores, which saw 168 properties built on the former Webbs chicken factory site off Bridge Road.
After construction on the bridge stalled, Redrow asked NFDC in 2021 for permission to change a planning condition which would effectively drop the requirement.
In April this year the High Court threw out its latest appeal over the scheme.
Now the developer is being accused of using legal red tape to evade its pledge to build the bridge, while Redrow insists it is still waiting for consents to be approved.
In an open letter to Redrow, Lymington Society said it was time for the company to “bring forward a new plan” and complete the work as originally proposed.
Redrow responded by saying its hand were tied as it awaits approval to build the bridge from Hampshire County Council, South Western Railway, Network Rail and the Department for Transport.
Lymington Society chair Don Mackenzie told the A&T: “Redrow have used planning procedures and appeals, including a now refused judicial review to the High Court, to try and get out of their obligations and previous commitments.”
In the letter, Mr Mackenzie wrote: “We appeal to the company to take a new tack and to look to complete the site with the bridge and some at least of the community facilities which the company promised to provide to obtain the original planning permission, rather than be seen to be using legal measures to get out of these commitments.
“In the longer run, standing by your original commitments and completing the site as originally planned will go a long way to restoring the reputation of the company... rather than as one that seeks to use planning regulations and legal manoeuvres to get out of its agreed obligations, freely entered into at the planning stage.”
He added: “Following the failure of the judicial review and the recent refusal to turn the unsold commercial units into more flats, the society really hopes that Redrow bring forward new plans to build the bridge and complete the site as originally planned.”
Redrow managing director Matt Paine replied: “In order to be able to construct the bridge, Redrow has to have approval from Network Rail, South Western Railways, as the franchise holder for the provision of rail services, and the Department for Transport.
“These consents have not been forthcoming to date. Furthermore, if we were to secure these consents, Hampshire County Council has confirmed that they would not have the ability to adopt the bridge in accordance with the terms [of the current planning agreement].
“Following the High Court judgement earlier this year therefore, we have continued to engage with Network Rail, South Western Railways, the Department for Transport and Hampshire County Council in order to find a workable solution for the wider community at Lymington Shores.”
He added: “I'd like to stress that we absolutely share your frustration, and that of those in the wider Lymington community, of being in a position where we cannot currently deliver the bridge or the non-residential elements that formed part of the original planning consent.
“However, without the involvement of these organisations we remain unable to deliver the works required.”
Responding to Redrow’s comments, a county council spokesperson said: “We could take responsibility for a new footbridge once built, in the same way that we routinely maintain many other major structures across Hampshire.
“However, in this case, and as described in the legal agreement, the footbridge would need to be built to an adoptable standard and come with funding to support its ongoing maintenance.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “DfT has not received a request to approve the bridge proposal. It is for local authorities to decide on planning applications.”
New Forest District Council, Network Rail and South Western Railway declined to comment.