THE planning application for the controversial new public park in Throop has been submitted.

The 12-hectare ‘SANG’ (suitable alternative natural greenspace) would be created at Hicks Farm as part of mitigation for large Bournemouth town centre developments, including Winter Gardens.

But the BCP Council application has attracted opposition from Throop Village Conservation Group which earlier this year described the scheme as “devious”.

Aimed at attracting walkers and cyclists, the SANG would feature several walking routes, a “small dog dipping pond” and a 20-space car park.

It would be funded through contributions from developments elsewhere in the town.

A statement submitted on behalf of the council by CL Planning says: “The proposed SANG gives rise to substantive economic, social and environmental benefits and as such is the embodiment of sustainable development.

“The proposed SANG would help to deliver new housing development, including the regeneration of the Winter Gardens site, to meet identified needs in the Bournemouth area without harm to sites of international nature conservation interest.”

Planning permission has been given for the £150 million Winter Gardens development but work on it can only start once approval of the new park area has been given.

But the location of the SANG in Throop has been criticised by people living nearby.

“It is ironic that an area that is the last bastion of untouched countryside adjacent to the conservation area is being used to mitigate town centre development and reduce visitor pressure elsewhere,” a spokesman for Throop Village Conservation Group said.

“More traffic to this area will be detrimental and have significant impact. It’s all very underhand and devious.”

Consultation events on the proposals were held by the council in September.

It said having to find an alternative site would delay major housing schemes in Bournemouth town centre.

The council said that should its application be approved early next year the site could be open to the public at the beginning of 2021.

Planning officers will consider the plans in the coming weeks.