Plans to transform buildings at old RAF Sopley military base win approval

Bournemouth Echo: ABANDONED: The former RAF base at Sopley ABANDONED: The former RAF base at Sopley

PLANS to transform a derelict military base in the New Forest countryside have been approved after the site was branded an eyesore.

Civic chiefs have approved an outline application to demolish most of the buildings at the old RAF Sopley and replace them with 80 homes – half of which will be affordable properties.

The district council has previously had to take enforcement action against businesses operating illegally on the 28-acre site in Derritt Lane, Bransgore.

But others have been granted lawful development certificates and 11 of the 91 huts will be retained for employment use.

Now known as Merryfield Park, the former RAF camp occupies green belt land next to part of the New Forest National Park.

A report to members of the district council said that the application to redevelop the site had resulted in nearly 40 letters of support.

Quoting some of the comments made in the letters, the report said: “The site has many derelict and unattractive buildings and its redevelopment for housing and business uses would be a considerable improvement. The site is an eyesore.”

Senior council officers hit back at claims made by their opposite numbers at the National Park Authority (NPA), who had objected to the scale of the proposed development, saying that it would have an adverse impact on the national park and the green belt.

But head of development control Chris Elliott said: “The scheme will have less impact than the existing development.”

Councillors who praised the application included Pat Wyeth, who is also chairman of the NPA’s planning committee. She said: “The applicants are providing affordable homes for local people and as much green space as they possibly can.”

 

Buildings in poor condition

RAF Sopley was used to house some of the Vietnamese boat people after they arrived in the UK in the late 1970s.
The report to members stated: “It has a history but the majority of the buildings are in a really poor state of repair.”
Cllr Maureen Holding said: “What’s proposed is probably better than what’s there at the moment but it’s still green belt.”
But Cllr Tony Swain said: “The site has been a bit of an eyesore for the past 20 years and I’m delighted we’re sorting it out.”
After the meeting an NPA spokesman said: “We were invited to make comments on the application and had access to all the documents submitted. We then formed a professional response, having regard to all the relevant information.”

Comments (5)

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4:31pm Wed 21 May 14

JohnnyLem says...

Only half are affordable? Why would they build homes that aren't affordable?
Only half are affordable? Why would they build homes that aren't affordable? JohnnyLem
  • Score: 7

5:13pm Wed 21 May 14

boyerboy says...

What about the underground parts of the Sopley RAF base ?seem to recall the underground command centre etc covered a large area - nearby another ex RAF site( which is almost entirely underground) is now used for document and data storage.
What about the underground parts of the Sopley RAF base ?seem to recall the underground command centre etc covered a large area - nearby another ex RAF site( which is almost entirely underground) is now used for document and data storage. boyerboy
  • Score: 6

5:33pm Wed 21 May 14

Bob49 says...

would have been a perfect place for a travellers camp - utilities and toilet blocks must be in place

and there's high fencing around to make sure unscrupulous folk don't break into their caravans and steal stuff

any roadways not up to scratch and they could fix them

winners all round
would have been a perfect place for a travellers camp - utilities and toilet blocks must be in place and there's high fencing around to make sure unscrupulous folk don't break into their caravans and steal stuff any roadways not up to scratch and they could fix them winners all round Bob49
  • Score: 8

11:50pm Wed 21 May 14

NobleBoB says...

Sad to lose a bit of local history.
Sad to lose a bit of local history. NobleBoB
  • Score: 2

7:26am Thu 22 May 14

billy bumble says...

NobleBoB wrote:
Sad to lose a bit of local history.
I agree - but logically something had to be done with it

It would be nice if they could retain what I have always assumed to be the officers mess - it has a certain odd beauty to it
[quote][p][bold]NobleBoB[/bold] wrote: Sad to lose a bit of local history.[/p][/quote]I agree - but logically something had to be done with it It would be nice if they could retain what I have always assumed to be the officers mess - it has a certain odd beauty to it billy bumble
  • Score: 2

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