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Village to have say on new community space left by 42-home development

The Swifts in Milford is still under construction
The Swifts in Milford is still under construction

A PUBLIC consultation will be launched in Milford in January to plan the development of a 2.2-hectare area of community space.

The site on fields surrounding the village primary school on Lymington Road will be handed over to Milford Parish Council once Pennyfarthing Homes has completed its 42-unit estate The Swifts.

The land is part of a site known as MOS1, which was earmarked for public amenity when a government planning inspector agreed agricultural fields could be declassified as green belt to enable development.

Already planned for part of the site are: allotments, a pick-up and drop-off zone for the adjacent primary school, and a children’s play area. But the remaining area of land could be developed with sports pitches, running tracks or wildlife areas as the parish council sees fit – following a survey of the village.

Speaking at a virtual parish council meeting on Monday, chairman Cllr Bob Bishop said: “This will be a really positive development for the village and something that we can really get our teeth into.”

The meeting heard that the initial public consultation will be launched early next year before the parish council considers all suggestions and comes up with a number of alternative draft plans.

Cllr Bishop said: “It could be that we come up with three or four different draft schemes and then hold a further consultation when the community can respond to them. At that point we could consider further suggestions.”

As part of the deal with Pennyfarthing, the parish council has also been handed a £182,000 one-off payment to maintain and develop the site. New Forest District Council will take full responsibility for a parking and drop-off zone in a northern area of the site, and the parish will maintain everything else.

As the landowner it will be required to inspect the play facilities and carry out any repairs, as well as oversee the allotments, cut the grass and trim the hedges. Parish clerk Graham Wells has estimated this could cost the council up to £8,000 a year.

He said: “Currently we charge the cricket and football clubs for using the facilities at Barnes Lane, so if they or any other organisation wish to use the new facility it would incur a charge – thus producing an additional modest income, not expenditure.”

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