A “MILESTONE” development, costing more than £8 million, has been approved in Ringwood and could sustain up to 200 jobs.

New Forest District Council (NFDC) has approved the construction of employment land at Crow Lane, in a development that is expected to take 12 months to build.

The industrial and office space project is part of NFDC’s 'Asset Investment Strategy' which seeks to aid in the economic development of the district.

Cllr Jeremy Heron, portfolio holder for finance, investment and corporate services, said: “This is a significant investment for the council [and] we are so pleased as an administration to bring this forward.

“It provides work and employment and supports our green agenda where we are trying to avoid people commuting and unnecessary travel. This development will provide employment in the district, one of our key aims, and it will deliver an additional rental income for the council.”

Projected to cost £8,445,000, the proposed scheme will have five single-storey industrial units and two two-storey office units with an estimated floor area of approximately 49,458 square feet.

After additional survey work and detailed design, it is expected the contractor will start works on site by the end of November 2021.

Cllr Michael Harris, portfolio holder for business, tourism and high streets, said: “This project will be the first commercial property project where NFDC has itself undertaken the construction and development of an employment site.

“It is a milestone development, very much driven by our commitment to further the economic development of the area, as set out in our corporate plan.”

The site forms part of a larger mixed-use development. The residential part of the development to the east has been developed by Linden Homes, and the area to the south is designated for development of a care home by others, a district council report states.

The total estimated cost of the project is £10,886,054.42.

The council spent £2.169m to purchase the land.