A PUBLIC inquiry has been ordered into plans to build more than 40 retirement apartments at one of the entrances to an upmarket Hampshire town.

Civic chiefs have rejected two applications by Renaissance Retirement to demolish four houses at Stanford Hill, Lymington, and redevelop the site.

Controversial plans to build 45 flats for people aged 60 and over were refused by New Forest District Council in 2019.

The multi-million-pound scheme had been opposed by the town council and members of the influential Lymington Society - the area's conservation watchdog group.

People living near the site also lodged objections. They criticised the scale and potential impact of the proposed development, claiming it would create extra traffic problems in the area as well as putting additional pressure on services for the elderly.

A subsequent proposal to build 44 apartments on the site was rejected in October last year.

One of the people who spoke against the application was Lymington councillor Barry Dunning, who said the town was in danger of becoming a "retirement area for the south coast".

Cllr Andy Ash-Vie, representing Lymington and Pennington Town Council, added: "We really recommend refusal – it will have a massive impact on the town’s character."

Now Renaissance has lodged an appeal against the second rejection in the hope that a government-appointed planning inspector will overturn the council's decision.

Documents submitted in support of the appeal say: "The location makes this an excellent location for older persons’ housing.

“In the context of the national and local need for more housing, the proposals will make a vital contribution to the council’s housing supply.

“In delivering high-quality accommodation specifically suited to the needs of older people, it will play an important role in encouraging downsizing to free up under-occupied housing, which is identified as a significant problem in the New Forest.

“It will also provide older people with the opportunity to enhance their wellbeing through community living, a model which evidence shows reduces the burden on the NHS."

Stanford Hill, the western gateway to Lymington, is home to several historic buildings.

Announcing the appeal the district council said the proposal was turned down because of the scheme's potential impact on a "key and sensitive" location.

The appeal will be heard at a public inquiry on a date to be fixed.

Anyone who wishes to submit a comment to the inspector who will chair the inquiry must send it to the government's Planning Inspectorate by March 15.


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