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Letter: Why Lymington police station site should not be turned into retirement flats

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SIR – As has been pointed out in these pages and elsewhere, Lymington has a plentiful supply of “retirement” properties, advertisments for which promote “luxury accommodation”, many of which are empty due, presumably, to high rents or prices etc.

The police station should not be allowed to follow suit to add to this glut but be made to define a new future for housing in the area. Perhaps consideration should be given to the following:

1) The developer’s natural reaction to such an opportunity is to demolish the existing structure and start anew to provide “luxury accommodation”. This process adds substantially to production of greenhouse gasses, the resulting rubble contributes two-thirds of total UK waste and, presumably, to costs as opposed to adaptation of existing structures.

The old Lymington police station site is set to be demolished
The old Lymington police station site is set to be demolished

Imaginative and economic construction methods and fittings are all that is required for young families and the retired. There are plenty of expensive options for those who can afford it.

2) Ideally, New Forest District Council should take control as their housing stock is half what it was 10 years ago, yet the population in the area has expanded considerably and pressure on the low-paid but “key workers” to find homes has dramatically increased.

This will doubtless not come about due to financial pressures but let’s not forget the police are a resource partly paid for by council tax and householders therefore have a stake in the building.

Plans for the flats (picture: Churchill Retirement Living)
Plans for the flats (picture: Churchill Retirement Living)

3) The building is not exactly of any architectural value on one of Lymington’s “green arteries” and so is ripe for a bit of adventurous architectural thinking. We have plenty of imaginative designers in the area (see refurbishment of large yachts and other wonders) who should be put to work create adventurous housing to cater for the “haves-less”.

4) To encourage this, VAT rates should be changed: 20% on new builds and 0% on refurbs, not the other way around. To coin a Guardian phrase, “Out with the new and in with the old.”

Michael D Robinson,

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