Where we've got to with the campaign
Where we've got so far...
We are often asked about the current situation with Strategic Site 6 (SS6) which is the site that lies between Ridgeway Lane and Lower Pennington Lane. So here is a brief synopsis of where we are at.
In July 2020, New Forest District Council (NFDC) voted to adopt the Local Plan which included SS6. This means that it is now a matter of NFDC policy that at least 100 houses should be built on this greenfield site adjoining the National Park ; however, in order to build here, a planning application is still required which will be considered by NFDC Planning Committee.
At the moment, a pre-application process on SS6 is happening whereby the site promoters are putting forward their proposals to NFDC officers before submitting an outline planning application. Unlike most of the other strategic housing sites, no housing developer has been publicly announced for SS6 which means an outline planning application would be likely to be entirely speculative. The Council encourages applicants to undertake a period of 'community consultation' before submitting a planning application and, accordingly, Cicero carried out this exercise in early summer 2021. At the moment, it looks as though SS6 will be developed as two separate and un-linked sites. This is not good news and you can see more on this here.
Once a planning application is submitted by Cicero, the public will have only 3 weeks to consider a very large amount of information and respond.
So what are we doing? We have had reports prepared by both a Highways Consultant and a Drainage Consultant which you can view via the link below to critically assess the information which is in the public domain regarding those matters. We have sent the reports to the Chief Planning Officer Claire Upton-Brown because, in a meeting with us in September 2020, she committed to involve the local community at an early stage of the planning process. So far we have not had a response to our reports. We have spoken to David Norris, the newly appointed case officer for SS6, but still had no direct response to our reports.
We requested to see reports which were submitted by Cicero as part of their pre-application process. Initially, this request was refused by NFDC but subsequently the reports were released under the Freedom of Information Act. However, some crucial information is missing from the reports - some refer to missing appendices - and NFDC say they have no record of these appendices...This rather reduces the usefulness of the information to anyone - local planning authority or local community action group. Nevertheless, we have passed the Transport Assessment onto our consultant for review, notwithstanding the missing appendices. You can view those reports here.
What support have we had from local councillors? When the Local Plan was voted on last summer by NFDC Councillors, Jacqui England (Independent) proposed an amendment, seconded by Jack Davies (Lib Dem) to withdraw SS6 from the Local Plan. Whilst we had support for this from most Liberal Democrats and some independent councillors, it was wholeheartedly rejected by the Conservative Councillors. They voted for the inclusion of SS6 in 2018 and again in 2020.
We would encourage all of you to continue to lobby your District and Town councillors with your concerns and to ask them whether they are prepared to represent you, their constituents, and to ensure that the concerns are raised and properly dealt with at pre-application and planning application stage.
We firmly believe we have the evidence to show that the development of SS6 will have a detrimental effect on the locality and remain committed to objecting to any form of development which affects the tranquillity and environmental quality of our network of local lanes