STRONG opposition from residents prompted a developer to withdraw a controversial plan to build 16 homes on a greenbelt site in Ashley.
AJC Homes, the affordable housing element of Poole-based AJ Developments, had submitted an outline application to New Forest District Council for the development on land south-east of Spring Lane.
However, after a public consultation saw 38 letters of objection sent to NFDC, the firm backed down about a month before the decision deadline. It said it was “respecting the views of the local community”.
As reported in the A&T, New Milton Town Council opposed the proposal, partly due to it not providing 100% affordable housing provision.
The scheme comprised 10 three-bedroom and six two-bedroom properties with associated parking, but AJC Homes had said five of them needed to be market housing to enable grant funding.
Commenting on the plan being pulled, AJC Homes director David Cracklen told the A&T the developer had believed it would meet a “substantial need” for affordable housing in New Milton.
“Local and neighbourhood planning policies place a strong emphasis on community support for rural exception sites and AJC Homes liaised with the town council on this land, and other opportunities to deliver affordable housing,” he said.
“Following our discussion we concluded that, while some concerns were expressed, the site had sufficient potential to warrant an outline planning application.”
But Mr Cracklen continued: “The application, however, received a strong level of local objection and, upon reflection, the town council considered the issue could not be resolved and objected accordingly.
“Respecting the views of the local community, AJC Homes withdrew its application.”
Concerns over the potential impact on ecology were also cited by the town council, along with fears of heightened traffic and lack of parking – also raised by residents – and flood risks due to drainage issues.