Further to last night’s (20 July 2021) Planning Meeting, the Parish Council recommended REFUSAL (4) for the reasons listed below:
We believe that these proposed plans do not comply (or have not been demonstrated to comply) with the following Planning Policies:
SP1 – Supporting sustainable development
SP4 – Spatial Strategy
SP6 – The natural environment
SP 11 – Climate Change
SP 15 – Tranquillity
DP18 – Design Principles
SP 19 – New residential development in the National Park
DP34 – Residential Character of the Defined Villages
The Parish Council see this as an opportunity to build a truly sustainable development, showcasing initiatives such as renewable energy, grey water management systems and electric vehicle charging points. A development of exemplary design which is fit for the New Forest National Park and the Green Halo Partnership.
The Parish Council is concerned that these proposals are underpinned by supporting data which is inaccurate, misleading, inconsistent, out of date and/or incomplete. For example, out of date vehicle ownership data, traffic survey performed during a completely unrepresentative period; we believe the submitted Flood Risk assessment is factually incorrect regarding the disposal of surface water from the site; the list of amenities available in Ashurst (which is a village, not a town as the developer has described us) is incorrect (no Post Office, no hospital, one convenience store).
There has been no attempt at public engagement. The Parish Council is disappointed not to have been invited to be involved in any of the apparently extensive pre-application discussions, despite the developer having been advised to engage with us, both in person and by email.
- The plans show dwellings which are out of character with the surrounding Village houses, which are detached bungalows or houses, set back from the road with generous front gardens and on-site parking. The density and layout of the site is urban and out of character for this semi-rural area on the edge of a Village, with many dwellings fronting directly onto the street, with no front gardens or verges. We acknowledge that the density will not be the same as in Whartons Lane, however this density is significantly higher.
- The designs are generic, urban and lack local distinctiveness; they do not reflect the guidelines in the Ashurst and Colbury Village Design Statement. “The scale, form and mass of any new development should be in keeping with surrounding buildings and be sympathetic to the character, appearance and rural outlook of the village.” We object to the amount of hard-standing and close boarding proposed, as it will look harsh and suburban. Boundaries should be softened with low hedges to reflect the character of the existing Village, and to provide some screening, particularly to Whartons Close, as detailed in the Village Design Statement
- We are concerned about the visual impact of some dwellings which will be on a higher level than others on the site; also about possible overlooking of neighbouring properties, in particular 40 Whartons Lane and 2,4 and 6 Whartons Close, through the gap in the trees in the northern boundary (“Distance view line”). There is a lack of detail in the planning application about what could be a considerable uplift in levels (Section C.C)
- We believe that these plans demonstrate overdevelopment, as evidenced by the lack of front gardens, use of tandem parking and close grouping of dwellings. This is presumably driven by the site specific constraints, such as parts of the site falling within surface water flood risk, and the need to include SUDS attenuation ponds.
- Local residents have repeatedly experienced flooding in gardens and roads when it rains. The drainage strategy suggests surface water will be discharged into headwall outfalls which then flows into a ditch – we believe this is incorrect, and that the outfalls flow into a pipe which runs under the Park. Any increase in surface water runoff may overload this pipe – the Park is also affected by flooding, being the site of a previous lake.
- We are concerned that the submitted surveys of drainage are incomplete or misleading; any assessment of potential impact upon local flooding cannot be reliable until the underpinning data is robust.
- There are already significant problems with traffic and parking in Whartons Lane, which will be worsened by this development. The availability of local amenities and convenient public transport in Ashurst has been significantly overstated by the developer; most residents will use cars to access employment and other amenities.
- Car parking provision is not well integrated into the design. Parking which is not adjacent to the dwelling will cause difficulties for the elderly, infirm or wheelchair users. This will lead to on street parking if deliveries are made or items need to be unloaded from vehicles; this could impede emergency access to the site.
- The size of the parking spaces and use of surrounding fencing will make it very difficult for residents to park (works) vans or motorhomes in them, or for wheelchair users to be able to access their vehicles.
- Four visitor parking spaces is inadequate for 62 dwellings, this will lead to overspill parking on Whartons Lane, or on street parking on the site.
- The flats do not have private green space; this will result in significantly increased use of the Queen Elizabeth Field opposite, as the open space provided in the development will not be adequate for this number of residents. There are safety concerns regarding people crossing the road; it can be very busy at peak times, and visibility can be obscured by parked cars.
- The documentation on the Planning Portal do not make clear who will bear responsibility for maintenance (in perpetuity) of the attenuation ponds, green spaces and any new planting. Clarity is needed from the developer with regard to who will be responsible for the costs of ongoing maintenance.
- Residents have seen a wide variety of wildlife in the field, including Deer, Buzzards, Foxes, Pine Martens, Bats, Owls and Sparrow Hawks. Following the development, wildlife currently inhabiting the fields will move to the woodland at Foxhills. The Queen Elizabeth 2 Park opposite is not a suitable alternative habitat for wildlife, being used by children and dog walkers.
- We have concerns about light pollution in an area which is currently very dark at night. In particular, the bollard lighting on the perimeter path will impact the woodland and wildlife at Foxhills. This is contrary to the NFNPA Dark Skies policy, as there would be a continuous glow which will impact upon wildlife. We would ask that there be no lighting on the perimeter path, to avoid overspill.
- The proposed lighting of the central spine road, cul-de-sacs, and along the Whartons Lane frontage is suburban, and is excessive for this semi-rural area. It proposes a significantly greater density of 5m street lighting columns than the existing street lighting in the surrounding roads, which would be out of keeping with the local area. We have grave concerns regarding the level of street lighting that Hampshire County Council may require, which could cause significant light pollution.
- We note the Ecologist and Landscape Officer objection to these proposals, and that the Building Design & Conservation Area Officer is unable to support these proposals. Natural England commented that further information is required, “as submitted, the application could have potential significant effects on the NF SSI, NF SPA, NF Ramsar site, NF SAC”; additionally other sites also.
- The proposals do not include any sustainable design features beyond those required to meet the minimum requirements of the Building Act.
- Why is there no mention of, for example, Solar panels, ground source heat pumps, or provision for electric vehicle charging? The developers have stated that “photovoltaics will provide renewable energy”, but do not give any details of where this will be utilised.
- There are no one or two bedroom flats available for private sale. This does not meet the needs of local residents, some of whom wish to downsize and stay in Ashurst. The Local Plan (7.11) states that “the population of the National Park aged 60 and over has increased by 24% over the 2002 – 2012 period with most age groups up to the age of 59 having decreased over the same period. This trend is predicted to continue over the Plan period”. During the consultation on the Local Plan, Ashurst and Colbury Parish Council noted that “A projected 28% growth in the 65+ age bracket from 2011-2021 suggests that at least 28% of open market dwellings should be for older people.” and requested that “No less than 25% to comprise small bungalows allowing for elderly residents”.
- The developers have commented that “private flats for sale were uncharacteristic of the area” – surely this also applies to the proposed affordable housing/shared ownership flats. It would be possible to allocate some of these flats for private sale, and more of the larger houses as affordable housing; the NFDC Housing Strategy report commented that it is “disappointing that …scheme…not included rented homes providing 4 bedrooms for larger families, especially given the strategic evidence base as well as the evidence of need on the District Council’s Housing Register”
The developers commented that the Ashurst & Colbury Parish Questionnaire 2018 “showed a strong desire for family housing” – in fact, 208 people wanted retirement/downsizing dwellings, and 183 wanted family housing
The Ashurst and Colbury Parish Council Planning Committee has formed a working group, which also includes members of the public, to look at the proposed plans for the Whartons Lane site.
We have also spoken to local residents, and read all of the comments submitted by residents, which have been extremely informative.
As you may know, we will discuss these proposals at our Planning Committee meeting on July 20th, and submit our recommendation to the New Forest National Park Planning Authority (NFNPA) who will make the final decision.
As those of you who have followed this development will know, the New Forest National Park Authority have decided the allocate the field for housing.
This decision was approved by Her Majesty’s Planning Inspectors
despite our verbal evidence at the local plan enquiry back in 2019.
Thus our objective now is to try to achieve the best outcome for the village.
There has been no attempt at public engagement by the developer.
The Parish Council is disappointed that we have not been invited to be involved in any of the apparently extensive pre-application discussions.
We, in common with many residents, have concerns about various
aspects of these plans as they have been submitted, and we have compiled a list of areas about which we would like further information or clarification.
We have contacted the Planning Officer to ask for a meeting to discuss these.
Traffic and Parking
• The predicted traffic and parking volumes are based upon data from a local survey performed during a completely unrepresentative period, and estimations using data from surveys carried out in 2012.
• Predictions of vehicle ownership per household are based upon data from the 2011 Census, which is ten years old.
• People are increasingly driving to Ashurst to use the Wildplay area in the Queen Elizabeth Field (Park) opposite the development site. They park on Whartons Lane.
• It would appear to be very difficult to manoeuvre out of many of the parking spaces, due to the narrow access – for example, spaces 1,2,3,4,51,52
• Residents know that there are already significant problems with traffic flow and parking on Whartons Lane, particularly during school drop-off and pick-up. The school has attempted to address this by promoting an unofficial one-way system between Foxhills, Whartons Lane and Lyndhurst Road, but this has not solved the problem.
• The proposals claim there are good transport links, which mean that residents will not use their cars to access work and amenities not available in Ashurst. This is incorrect, they will not be convenient for most residents.
• An hourly bus service (every two hours at weekends), which stops at about 18:30. The bus through Ashurst has to reroute during school drop-off and pick-up times, due to traffic congestion.
• An hourly rail service – the station is 1.6km distant from the
• These services are not guaranteed to remain in perpetuity.
Flooding and drainage
• We are concerned that the Bright Plan Flood risk strategy report may not be accurate – para 1.5 (P8) – states the existing site is presumed to drain via overland runoff to existing 2 headwalls which are shown to connect into….surface water drainage system which discharge into the ordinary watercourse along the opposite verge of Whartons Lane.
• The Drainline CCTV survey shows these labelled SW3 and SW7. SW3 and SW7 discharge into “unknown line” (as does SW4-SW9 from Chestnut Drive). We think this pipe runs across the QE2 Field (Park) and into Lakewood Road, not into the watercourse along Whartons Lane. This needs clarification.
• Much of the pipe along the front of the site is blocked or the survey was abandoned
• Many residents have reported flooding of their gardens when it rains.
Design and layout of site
• The plans show dwellings which would be out of character with the surrounding village houses, which are detached bungalows or houses, set back from the road with generous front gardens and on-site parking.
• The designs lack local distinctiveness, and do not meet the guidelines in the Ashurst and Colbury Village Design Statement. In particular, that new development should follow the established building line with front gardens enclosed by appropriate boundary treatments or abutting up to the back of the pavement.
The scale, form and mass of any new development should be in keeping with surrounding buildings and be sympathetic to the character, appearance and rural outlook of the village.
• Whilst we realise that development of this site will be of higher density than the surrounding roads, we believe that these plans demonstrate overdevelopment, as evidenced by the lack of front gardens, use of tandem parking and close grouping of dwellings.
This is presumably driven by the site specific constraints, such as parts of the site falling within surface water flood risk, and the need to include SUDS ponds
• The proposals do not include any sustainable design features beyond those required to meet the minimum requirements of the Building Act.
• Why is there no mention of, for example, Solar panels or provision for electric vehicle charging? This would be an ideal opportunity to construct a communal ground source heating system to serve the whole development.
• The infrequent and often inconvenient public transport links mean that residents will generally use their cars to access amenities not available locally.
• The affordable housing is not distributed throughout the development, it is concentrated towards the front and sides of the site, with private houses grouped at the back.
• There are no one or two bedroom flats available for private sale. This does not meet the needs of local residents, some of whom wish to downsize and stay in Ashurst.
• Whilst the Policy Team (part of the NFNPA, who look at whether the proposals meet the Planning Policy criteria) don’t have an issue with the dwelling mix and variety of dwellings, or the location of
affordable/private around the site, they do not comment on the fact that all of the flats are affordable, not available for private purchase
Habitat and ecology
• Has an Environmental Impact assessment been performed for this site?
• The Ecological Survey submitted by the developer is a preliminary
investigation, and further surveys have been recommended, but these have not yet been published. We have grave concerns about the impact of this development on wildlife and biodiversity; we do not feel that the issue of light pollution has been addressed. We believe that these further data are needed before these proposals can be properly assessed.
• Residents have seen a wide variety of wildlife in the field, including Deer, buzzards, foxes, Pine Martins, bats, owls and sparrow hawks. The QE2 Park opposite is not a suitable alternative habitat for wildlife, being used by children and dog walkers
• The Ecologist Consultee is opposed to these proposals. The Policy Team assessment is unhappy with the lighting proposals – “at odds with the semi-rural character…” “should be appropriate for a site on the edge of a village within nationally protected landscape”.
NFNPA Local Plan Chapter 10 – implementation and monitoring
We note that this development will not meet several monitoring targets as detailed in the NFNPA Local Plan – implementation and Monitoring.
Objective 2: conserve and enhance…..contribute to its local distinctiveness (DP2, SP16, SP17, DP18)
Target: not to allow development that would be incompatible with the character of the area
Objective 3: Climate change (SP11, DP12, DP13, SP14)
Target: Increase in numbers of applications permitted – renewable and low carbon energy schemes permitted
Objective 4: strengthen the wellbeing, identity and sustainability of rural communities (DP10, DP34, DP35, DP36, DP37, SP38, SP39, DP40, DP41)
Target: Density of new dwellings completed – not to allow development that would be incompatible with the character of the area
Health and Wellbeing Centre
Local NHS Services and partners are working together to redevelop part of the Ashurst Hospital site in the New Forest to create a Health and Wellbeing Centre for Children, Young People and Families.
Ashurst Hospital currently accommodates the New Forest Birth Centre and is a local hub for CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) so local families and young people may already know the site and therefore be interested in helping us plan for its future.
Local children and young people (and their families of course) are being invited to help design some of the external landscaped space around the planned new centre
Details of how they can get involved are explained – closing date for sending in ideas is Friday 9 July.
Land Adjacent 40 Whartons Lane, Ashurst.
NFNPA Planning Reference 21/00472
62no. dwellings; access; associated parking; public open space; landscaping; associated works
The Land at Whartons Lane has already been allocated and approved for development at Government level and is designated for development in the NFNPA Current Local Plan, which was itself the subject of 4 or more years consultation, during which time the Parish Council opposed development on this site.
Any representation the Parish Council can now make on this application in relation to their approval or refusal of the detail of the application, will be based on planning policy and procedure alone.
Due to current Covid 19 Government restrictions, it is not known whether the Parish Council can safely facilitate a public meeting.
Residents are reminded that the Parish Council are not the decision making authority, merely a consultee in the process, the decision will be made by the NFNPA who will facilitate a public Planning Committee meeting (in some form, as numbers may well still be restricted depending on the Government’s announcement in relation to 21st June lifting of restrictions).
In the meantime, the Parish Council Planning & Development Committee asks residents to comment on the application via the NFNPA website link;
whereby the Parish Planning & Development Committee Members are able to view resident’s comments and take these into consideration in their consultation response.
Residents are politely requested not to contact the Parish Council directly in relation to this application, as with no permanent Clerk in place, we are not able to respond to a multitude of enquiries.
Thank you for your consideration.
Ashurst and Colbury Parish Council