Retirement flats plans for former police station are thrown out

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police station hythe
The McCarthy and Stone designs for the old police station in Jones Lane, Hythe

PLANS to build retirement flats on the site of the former police station in Hythe have been turned down by New Forest District Council.

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As previously reported in the A&T, McCarthy and Stone wanted to build 33 one and two-bedroom flats on the site in Jones Lane, which closed in 2017.

The development would also have included a residents’ lounge, guest suite and parking for 23 cars. In its application McCarthy & Stone stated: “We believe we have created a high-quality building and environment for later-years living while enhancing a derelict and underused site.

“The development team has worked hard to produce a scheme that we consider to have a positive impact on a prominent site, taking into consideration the many facets that come with the design and function of retirement living and integrating in to the site and context.”

The company previously applied for 35 apartments on the site – which were likened to a prison – but permission was refused following a public hearing last June.

The current application was recommended for refusal by Hythe and Dibden Parish Council. It also received 31 letters of objection and three in support.

Among those objecting were the Jones Lane and Dibden Lodge Close Residents Association, which was formed in 1985 and comprises more than 55 households.

A letter to the district council on behalf of its members said: “We already have a very large number of retirement flats and individual homes for elderly people as well as a recent retirement development on nearby Southampton Road, and similar developments in Hythe village next to the new Lidl site, as well as Dibden Purlieu and Langdown Lawn.

“Repeatedly approving further housing of this type could substantially change the nature and make-up of the Hythe village community. We feel that it is important that a community should consist of people of all ages rather than a preponderance of one age group and in particular, that local young people who work in the community and wish to live in the area and be near to their families should be able to have the opportunity to do so.”

Other concerns raised by objectors included inadequate parking, the height of the building and the lack of starter homes.

The application was refused by NFDC’s chief planning officer, Claire Upton-Brown, who said it was “of poor design quality which would be disproportionately large and out of scale with other buildings in the locality”.

The proposed development would also have an adverse impact on the New Forest and Solent Coast European conservation sites and would fail to provide a contribution towards affordable housing.

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