From Chicken Factory to Chicken Coop for People!
REDROW PLANS - LYMINGTON’S ‘BENIDORM BOLT-ON’ - GIVEN THE GO-AHEAD.
New Forest District Council Run Ruin & Misrepresent Lymington.
“…the design is naive. [Bryan] Avery has been to Buckler’s Hard. Avery has seen the crinkle-crankle walls. Avery decides to scale up Buckler’s Hard three fold and crinkle-crankle walls five-fold and turn them into bizarre architectural motifs. That’s now how you design – well at least not beyond year 1 of architectural school – unless you are a bad post-modernist.”
4 Storey Apartment Blocks on raised 1.8 Metre platform, 168 Dwellings & 2 Storey Car Park.
(NFDC Planning application status: In Favour: 26 , Against: 145 , Petitions Against: 8)
QUESTIONS RAISED OVER APPROVAL OF PLANNING PERMISSION
New Forest District Council has granted Redrow Homes planning permission 11/97849 for a controversial building scheme on Lymington River. Under duress, one ”supporter” says – ”this latest application is the lesser of all the previous evils.” On WEDNESDAY 13th JUNE 2012, sadly – either under duress or with a significant misunderstanding of the state of play – 10 NFDC planning control committee members approved the plans over 5 who didn’t. It was seen by those voting, as not necessarily the best scheme, but the best given the situation.
Permission should not have been granted: (Committee members were urged to research the application in detail before voting).
1. The granted permission contravenes council policy on many counts including height, scale, density, character, and open space provision. (See Planning Policy here). Fundamentally, a NFDC policy document drawn up to help ”ensure” the best for the site (and the town) states that “The middle of the site should remain low-rise.” (p.13, NFDC 2002). Click here to view.
2. There is a clear public consensus (including an 800 name petition – of which only six participants are in approval of the plans) that the plans are for a significant overdevelopment of the prime riverside site and the plans are for an unsuitable cramming of buildings to suit the developer”s profit margin. It is widely recognised that a sympathetic development should prevail – not another chicken factory for people.
Height: 19 Metres, 4 Storey. Scale: Disproportionate. Density: 168 – Too Dense. Character: Not sympathetic. Style: Dormitory. Section 106 Agreements: Bridge over railway: Not guaranteed. Pier & pontoons: Not guaranteed. Restaurant: Not guaranteed. Required open space: 1.3 Hectares – Proposed Open Space: 0.5 Hectare shortfall.
History – Redrow clarifies its position: Saturday 19th November 2011 – Lymington Times – Redrow announced that they have no intention of building out the existing granted (2005) permission 82337 for 298 dwellings. (It is not viable – See why here). This comes after controversial unveiling of their new plans in the 22nd October Lymington Times with a warning that they would resort to the 2005 permission if their newer plans are not given consent. This was interpreted as a veiled threat and caused many to believe that these new plans are a fait accompli.
Present Plans: The latest plans (97849) include 168 dwellings in dense apartment blocks and 12 houses, a restaurant, art house, pier with pontoons, railway bridge and 2 storey car-park. The number of dwellings proposed are less than the withdrawn application (and present consent that is not viable). Technical issues are behind this ”drop” in numbers. Nevertheless, these plans still include a large number of very tall, densely populated apartment blocks that are totally unsympathetic to the area.
Height: For the developer to achieve the 168 dwellings, they propose that the buildings need to be 4 floors in height and densely built including apartment blocks. The planning application included a flood risk assessment within the environmental statement. It recommended that development would be acceptable subject to the site being raised to 3.9 meters above ordnance datum (AOD). Levels shown on the application ground floor plan include 3.9 and 4.05 meters AOD. Extant permission granted in 2005 (82337) has 3.2 and 3.5 meters AOD shown on the ground floor plans. There is a material difference in heights between both proposals. The 82337 permission is for a lower site and ground floor heights than the 97849 permission. The result of raising site levels and building up to 4 storey apartment blocks on top of the raised levels will be a development that significantly contravenes planning policy.
Traffic: The site entrance/exit lies less than 5 meters from the level crossing. Redrow insist that there will be no traffic problems and that they have an agreement with Network Rail to integrate traffic signals that would cater for a scheme even with 300 dwellings. Our compreheniseve web based survey findings (results now archived) show other opinions regarding this.
Local Services: Local services as they stand will not be able to offer facilities for the sudden large increase in population – (see here). Schools, Dentists, Doctor Surgeries, Hospitals are already at capacity (or passed it).
Amenities: Redrow are considering integrating plans for a pier for access to and from the river. The implementation of this would likely require third party involvement – however, it will be instrumental in making this not just a destination for visitors from the water, but a site that provides access to the water. On this basis, they are also in talks with the local rowing club relating to accommodating the club on site. The new plans include a restaurant and art house which are certainly welcomed and are an encouraging use of space on this site. However all these aspects are not necessarily going to be agreed upon, even if the application is approved. This should not be allowed to be the case, and completely puts the whole idea of an inviting ”destination” at risk.
Open Space: The latest plans do include open space although it sits between two large apartment blocks and falls significantly short of Council planning policy by 0.5 hectare. It seems to be a result of having to integrate space within a dense building scheme rather than from complimenting this riverside site with what it naturally offers. See the New Forest National Park Authority”s response to the plans – see here.
The Future: This site is crying out for a sympathetic development. It should be developed in a way that visitors and residents can use and enjoy it. Its height and density should respect the character of its surroundings. It could include a low number of dwellings, with a focus on amenities that will make the site a real ”destination” for people to come to. This could benefit the developer in the long term, as opposed to their name being tarnished due to an inappropriate development for short term financial gain.