A PAYMENT of £300,000 to BCP Council should planning permission be secured will not impact on the determination of a controversial development proposal, a senior councillor has insisted.

The council will receive the hefty sum from Boyland and Son Ltd if planning approval is secured for a residential scheme in the Jesmond Avenue woodland site in Highcliffe.

Details of the overage clause have come to light following a Freedom of Information request to the local authority by resident Alex McKinstry.

Poole-based Brentland Ltd’s latest plans, the firm’s fourth for the site, were submitted to the council in April.

The land was sold by Dorset County Council to Boyland and Son Ltd, which has mutual company directors with Brentland Ltd, in 2017. This transfer included the overage clause, which at the time would have seen Christchurch Borough Council determine any planning application.

When local government reorganisation took place in Dorset in 2019, BCP Council became both the planning authority and the beneficiary of any settlement from the overage clause.

Councillor Philip Broadhead, BCP Council’s deputy leader, said: “BCP Council as local planning authority is currently considering an application for housing on the Jesmond Avenue woodland site.

“It is acknowledged that there is an overage clause on the land that would result in a payment being made to the council in the event of a planning permission being granted on the site.

“Overage clauses are not uncommon, but they are an entirely separate matter to the determination of a planning application and will have no have no influence on the final decision in this case.

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Philip BroadheadCllr Philip Broadhead (Image: BCP Council)

“The planning application is being assessed by a professional planning officer against the adopted planning policies relevant to the site.

“A recommendation will be made following the planning assessment and then referred to planning committee to make the decision at a meeting held in public.

“There is no recourse to refer the decision to the Planning Inspectorate at this stage but there is no need to in any event as it will be made locally in an open and transparent way, and on planning grounds only.”

As reported, the current plans from Brentland would see one three-bed and 16 four-bed family homes build, with 245 trees removed and around 650 retained.

A planning statement submitted on the developer’s behalf by Terence O’Rouke Ltd said: ”The goal of Brentland Ltd is to create a cohesive, high quality, development that improves the landscape and ecological management, and therefore value, of the site, allows residents to access much of the site to gain recreational benefit, and to add value to the area by way of a well-built scheme, helping to meet local housing need.”

The site was bought by Hampshire County Council in the 1960s ahead of plans for a bypass but this project was scraped and the land was sold to Boyland and Son.

Bournemouth Echo: The woodland off Jesmond AvenueThe woodland off Jesmond Avenue

Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council chairman Bob Hutchings said he was aware of the overage clause.

He said it was not a factor or consideration in the parish council’s opposition to the development plans.

“The fact is it is a green area which we want to retain as a green area,” Cllr Hutchings said.

“I understand why some people are surprised by the clause. We do not gain anything from it and it would not make any difference for the parish council. Our objection stands regardless.”