Developer submits ‘landmark’ plans for former coastguard centre

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An artist’s impression of Pennyfarthing’s plan for Steamer Point

A DEVELOPER has formally submitted its plans to revamp the former coastguard training centre overlooking Christchurch Bay with a mixture of flats and homes.

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Pennyfarthing Homes wants permission from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP) to build 29 properties at Steamer Point, adjacent to the nature reserve. It features 88 parking spaces, associated works and landscaping.

In the past, local residents have raised concerns about over-development, loss of character, the felling of protected trees and inadequate parking at the 1.35-hectare site.

The scheme proposes 17 apartments in an art deco four-storey block, plus 12 houses. The 29 properties will comprise three two-bedroom dwellings, 18 three-bed homes, and the remaining eight will have at least four bedrooms.

To accommodate the homes, nine buildings already on the site, associated with its previous use, will have to be demolished.

Steamer Point
Site of new development at Steamerpoint

In its promotional literature Pennyfarthing has called the plan a “landmark development” that will “regenerate” the brownfield site.

As reported in the A&T, the Marine Coastguard Agency (MCA) left the site in 2015. Subsequently it launched two attempts to develop it, both of which were refused by the former Christchurch Borough Council amid concerns from local residents.

The MCA went to appeal and eventually won outline planning permission to build 26 homes, but then sold the site to Pennyfarthing.

In June Pennyfarthing held a public exhibition of its plans, to which it invited 400 local households and businesses and gave them the opportunity to comment.

In terms of parking, planning documents pledge the homes will have “single or double garages” as well as parking for “two or three additional cars in front of the garage”. The apartments will each have single or double garage provision, it adds, and an additional allocated space.

It states the amount of parking is “generous”, but acknowledges the 88 spaces does not provide “unallocated/visitor provision”. The documents states residents should be able to accommodate visitors in their own allocated provision.

“Furthermore, allocated parking at the site will deter unauthorised visitors who should otherwise use Steamer Point visitor car park further west on Penny Way,” it continues.

As for extra traffic the development will generate, the document insists only 11 extra two-way extra vehicle trips will be made by vehicles in morning hours and 12 such journeys in the afternoon.

“Given the low-forecast trip generation, it is considered the proposed development will result in negligible impact on the surrounding transport network,” the document states.

It adds: “The proposed development is therefore considered to be sustainable and appropriate, and should be recommended for approval by the highway authority.”

An ecological survey claims there was no trace of bats, dormice, great crested newts or reptiles on the site. There are birds nesting on the roof of a building, so work there could be done outside of nesting season or suspended until nestlings have fledged, it adds.

As of Tuesday there were no comments on the plans from residents or consultees. The deadline to make a representation is 26th September.

Ben Arnold, Pennyfarthing Homes land and planning director, said: “Following extensive consultation with the local community and planning officers, we’re very pleased to have now submitted our planning application to bring forward new homes at the Steamer Point site.

“Our plans would utilise previously-developed, brownfield land to deliver a range of attractive new homes in a fantastic location.

“The site has been vacant for some time and we understand from speaking to local residents that it attracts a lot of anti-social behaviour,” he went on.

“Our proposals will not only regenerate the site and bring it back into good use, but through our high-quality designs we believe we will be creating a landmark new development for Christchurch.”

A website has been set up by the developer giving updates on the scheme – www.steamerpoint.consultationonline.co.uk.

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