A MAJOR development of up to 875 homes in Christchurch has taken another step forward more than four years after initial plans were approved by councillors.

Outline proposals for the green belt site at Roeshot Hill were granted by Christchurch Borough Council’s planning committee in June 2017 – before the local authority was abolished.

Formal planning permission for access only was not issued until March 2019 as a number of conditions needed to be finalised with developer Taylor Wimpey Southern Counties.

The permission set a requirement for the firm to submit its first reserved matters application before March next year.

And now Taylor Wimpey Southern Counties has put forward a proposal to BCP Council for the construction of a small public open space.

The plans are for a 0.285-acre plot of land, just 0.3 per cent of the overall site, north of the A35 Lyndhurst Road.

A design and access statement by the applicants said: “There is now less than one year within which the first reserved matters application must be submitted.

“For a development of this scale, some of the outstanding design details will take considerable time to prepare, discuss with officers, and then submit for formal determination, potentially placing the outline planning permission at risk of being ‘timed out’.

“It is therefore proposed that the first reserved matters application relates to a small phase of the development, which will require the preparation of a relatively straightforward set of supporting documentation and will allow the application to be submitted sooner, compared to the requirements and time frames associated with the residential parcels of the scheme.”

The landscape design of the open space includes an assortment of clear stem trees, as well as shrub planting, timber bins and benches.

Other reserved matters, which will need to be brought at a later date, include a community building and two floodlit all-weather five-a-side sports pitches.

Mudeford, Stanpit and West Highcliffe ward councillor Lesley Dedman said: “If there are going to be 875 dwellings built in the area, that means that there will be a lot of families with children moving into these houses.

“Where are these children going to go to school?

“The obvious choice would be Somerford, but BCP Council have recently turned this into a SEND school so the number of children they can take in has been drastically reduced.”

Cllr Dedman also expressed strong concerns about the rise in traffic, saying that congestion along the A35 Lyndhurst Road is “bad enough at the moment”.

She added: “There is going to be a bit of traffic during the first phase of the plans but when the major construction starts, that area will be gridlocked.

“My main feeling in all of this is that, yes, they are bringing in sustainable drainage, but they are pumping in more and more traffic into the area and the roads as they are will not be able to cope.

“We had a recent meeting in the town hall with Cllr Broadhead and he did say that this was one of the things that was on the cards so all of the Christchurch Independent councillors must press for this.”

In the coming months, Taylor Wimpey Southern Counties is expected to split the overall development into four phases, with the next phase being all site-wide infrastructure including main roads, remaining public open space, drainage and the development’s pumping stations.

Following this, the plans for the eastern and western residential developments will be revealed, according to the developer.