CONTROVERSIAL plans for a mountain bike park at Chewton Bunny have been halted due to issues concerning land ownership.

Christchurch council have decided not to progress proposals to build a mountain bike park at Chewton Bunny in Highcliffe due to the uncertainties about the ownership.

The consultation on the proposals to improve the area including a mountain bike park, newly-resurfaced paths and picnic area ran from November 28 to February 3.

Residents mounted a campaign to oppose the plans, calling on the council to think again about the location of the proposals.

A petition was signed by 200 residents with their responses due to be discussed at community services committee on February 29 – with the planning application to the committee the following day, should community services have voted through the scheme.

However, according to the council, during the consultation questions arose around the ownership of the area where the proposed development would take place.

And now, until ownership issues have been resolved, the council have decided to put the plans on ice.

Matti Raudsepp, head of leisure and open spaces at Christchurch and East Dorset Partnership said: “It is fair to say that this consultation has produced a lot of strong feelings with people coming out very definitely in favour or against the proposals.

“The results of the consultation are still being analysed but, at first glance, it would appear that the results are fairly balanced.

“This would certainly indicate to us that there is a definite demand for a mountain biking facility of the kind proposed in Christchurch.

“We need to consider how we might meet this kind of demand, whether it is in Chewton Bunny or elsewhere.

“We will be looking to resolve the ownership issues as quickly as possible so that a decision can be made on whether or not the matter can be considered by the community services committee in due course.”

Resident Andrew Ellis, one of the residents protesting at the plans said: “I am very pleased.

“I am just concerned that they have not said they not abandoned the idea and concerned at the prospect of them resurrecting it at a later date when we will be forced to go through the whole rigmarole again.”