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Letter: We need affordable homes, not retirement flats at the old Lymington police station site

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SIR – It was very interesting attending the planning appeal at Lymington council chamber last week to consider Churchill Retirement Living's appeal against the refusal of planning permission for building retirement flats on the old police station site.

The appellant had briefed a very expensive QC whereas New Forest District Council had employed a planning expert.

Of note were the different styles of approach by either side. Churchill’s QC started by saying that they, very generously, were not going to ask for costs as a gesture to the inspector to show what good chaps they were.

Pennyfarthing has appealed the refusal of its plans for the old Lymington police station site
Pennyfarthing has appealed the refusal of its plans for the old Lymington police station site

No one in the opening morning spoke in favour of the appeal except the smooth talking QC acting on behalf of Churchill.

He emphasised the pressing need in Lymington for more old people's retirement homes as the population was getting older; countered by one of the objectors who called it a “self-fulfilling prophesy” quoting: “If you cater for old people, you get old people”. A ripple of approval went around the council chamber.

The town council, represented by the chairman of planning, made an impassioned presentation against the appeal, quoting Aneurin Bevan and the need for old people not to all live together, looking out of the window to watch the funeral procession of an old friend.

They really need to look out of the window to see perambulators!

This was followed by the chairman of the Lymington Society who did the same, emphasising the need for a balanced society. Members of the public followed who also had no positive opinions on 32 extra retirement flats being made available in Lymington.

The overwhelming message coming through was that the residents of Lymington desperately need affordable housing so that their children can stay in the area.

Care workers, nurses and staff need properties to be made available so that they can support the over abundance of elderly residents and care homes already in the town without having to travel across the Forest from Hythe and Totton.

I do hope that the inspector listens with a sympathetic ear to the passionate arguments of the townsfolk and turns down this appeal.

The residents of Lymington do not need any more retirement properties to be built in their town.

Cllr Barry Dunning,

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