A DEVELOPER has come under fire for failing to build a £1m bridge that would serve a luxury housing development in a New Forest town.

Redrow was given planning permission for the Lymington Shores scheme in 2012 on condition it provided a footbridge over a railway line that separates the 168 waterfront homes from the town centre.

The company wants New Forest District Council to lift the condition but has been told to “reconsider” its request.

In a letter chief planning officer Claire Upton-Brown said: “I am surprised by your suggestion that the bridge is not necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms and that the council should consider a package of ‘alternative improvements’.

“The council has long regarded the provision of a footbridge over the railway line as a necessary part of the development of the site.”

Redrow’s request is being opposed by the Lymington Society, which describes the bridge as “vitally important”.

Deputy chairman Don Mackenzie said: “To allow a developer to walk away from a legally-binding agreement would drive a coach and horses through the planning process.”

The company came under fire at a meeting of the town council.

Cllr Barry Dunning said Redrow’s reputation would be “tarnished” if the bridge was not built. Other critics included the mayor, Cllr Anne Corbridge, who said the council had been “continually disappointed” with the company’s conduct.

Planning permission for a footbridge over the line at Lymington Town station was granted in 2018.

In a statement Redrow said: “Since 2015 we have been trying to get the green light to start work on the footbridge, actively working with partners including NFDC, Hampshire County Council, Network Rail and South Western Railway.

“Unfortunately despite our best efforts we have not been able to reach a resolution with all parties in order to construct the footbridge.

“We submitted a revised application which requires the need for the footbridge to be reconsidered and our obligations to be met through a package of alternative highway improvement works or an equivalent monetary contribution to the community well in excess of £1m.”

Several Lymington residents have written to the council to support Redrow’s request.

One person said: “The (proposed) bridge serves no useful purpose other than to save five minutes off the journey into the town centre.”

Another said the bridge would leave Lymington Shores residents exposed to theft, vandalism and other types of anti-social behaviour.