The Local Plan is the document which shapes and directs development in the area, is being reviewed because of significant changes to national planning policy intended to increase house-building. New evidence suggests there is a need for 600-700 homes to be provided annually for the New Forest district (the area around the outside of the National Park) compared to our current target of 200 homes.
Councillor Edward Heron, deputy leader of New Forest District Council, said: “Our aim is to have a robust and sensible Local Plan that balances the needs for housing with the sensitivities of the area. This will be a transparent process open to public comment with feedback encouraged. At this stage we are asking people to give us their views on the sites which initially have been identified as suitable for possible future development.
“We are facing difficult choices for our area and with our revised Local Plan we are aiming to balance the pressing need for homes in the area with the desire to protect the environment. If we are to get close to meeting the need for new homes, we may have to consider development within the Green Belt as well as in other parts of the countryside around our towns and villages. This has been done in other areas similar to ours with limited scope for future development, and we want to hear what the public think about this.
He continued: “By taking a positive approach to meeting the government’s target, we can ensure that new developments contribute to the vitality of our communities. We need to address the urgent need for affordable homes for younger people and families, and meet at least some of the housing need where it arises; in the south of the district, this will mean building on some Green Belt land.
“No decisions have yet been taken on where future development will be, but we are asking for comments from the public on possible proposals. Any land that goes forward to the next stage for development will be subject to further consultation and a public hearing chaired by an independent planning inspector.”
The nine week opportunity for comment on the draft document starts on 15 July at www.newforest.gov.uk/localplan2016.
For people unable to view this on line at home, they can access them online at any NFDC office or library, or attend any of the three information drop-in events: The drop-in events will all be held at Totton & Eling Community Centre on Monday 25 July, at Fordingbridge, Avonway Centre on Tuesday 26 July, and at The Lymington (Community) Centre on Wednesday 27 July from 4:00pm to 7:30pm. These events are open to everyone and will cover the plan for the whole district, not just the locality of the event.