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May 13, 2024

A development of 20 new homes on surplus land at a garden centre in Hampshire has received the green light.

New Forest District Council’s Planning Committee approved a full application for the scheme at Everton Nurseries in Christchurch Road, near Milford on Sea.

They gave permission for the demolition of existing buildings associated with the garden centre and the construction of 16 houses and four flats.

The scheme includes 10 affordable homes – half of the total properties on the site – new public open space, a children’s play area, 48 parking space and landscaping.

The housing will replace ageing and redundant greenhouses, polytunnels, storage sheds and containers which are no longer required by Everton Nurseries following investment and re-configuration of its site.

Planning permission was granted after representatives from Ken Parke Planning Consultants (KPPC) addressed issues raised in considerable local opposition to the scheme.

KPPC is providing planning advice for applicants EG Dunford Ltd along with Williams Lester Architects (WLA).

Ken Parke, managing director of Bournemouth-based KPPC Ltd, said: “This is a very well-designed scheme which will deliver much needed family homes.

“There were a number of matters which were successfully addressed to allow planning permission to be granted.

“Although the site is located within the green belt, it is not open countryside and sits between existing residential areas and the main garden centre complex.

“Planning policy allows redevelopment of previously developed land in the green belt for residential purposes provided there is no greater impact on the openness of the green belt.

“As a garden centre is essentially a retail or mixed use site, we were able to successfully demonstrate that the site meets the definition of previously developed land and complies fully with green belt policy.

“Planning policy also sets out a preference for previously developed land to be redeveloped in preference to undeveloped green field land.

“We are grateful to members of the planning committee for recognising the merits of this application under ‘common sense’ planning policies to allow a high quality residential development with significant environmental, social and economic benefits.”

A comprehensive package of supporting reports included a landscape and visual impact assessment, fully detailed landscaping plan and analysis of the volume of buildings. These helped to demonstrate that the housing scheme have less impact on the Green Belt than the existing development.

Expert reports also demonstrated that the plans are fully compliant with highway requirements and meet NFDC standards so that there will be no detrimental impact on highway safety or parking in surrounding roads.

The applicants went through a pre-application process with council and held a consultation before amending their plans for consideration by the planning committee. Planning officers at the council recommended that the committee approve the plans.

EG Dunford Ltd is a third generation local family owned development company, that has been established for over 90 years building new homes in the local area.

The project team comprised KPPC, WLA, EG Dunford Ltd, Sturt & Company and Ecological Survey and Assessment (ECOSA).