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Scheme for former town hall in Ringwood is rejected over fears for fire station access
PLANS for a convenience store have been rejected amid fears that traffic could put lives at risk by blocking access to a fire station.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service had voiced concern about proposals to bulldoze the former town hall in Christchurch Road, Ringwood, and redevelop the site.
The vacant pre-war building is owned by New Forest District Council, which wants to sell the site. But the authority’s own planning committee refused an application by Current Asset Ltd to replace it with 11 homes and a small Morrisons store.
Councillors went against the advice of planning officers after warning that traffic could block the entrance and exit to the neighbouring fire station, delaying crews in an emergency.
They were particularly concerned about the potential impact of supermarket customers parking in the road and delivery lorries causing long tailbacks in the area.
Cllr Jeremy Heron, who represents Ringwood South, said: “It’s going to cause mayhem.”
The 76-year-old building, which has been replaced by the Ringwood Gateway complex, is on a road that links the A31 with Christchurch.
Cllr Michael Thierry said: “We should refuse this application, no matter how long or how hard the officers urge us to approve it.
“The traffic impact will be tremendous, not only on local residents but the town as a whole.”
Cllr John Penwarden added: “It’s going to cause chaos, especially with deliveries.”
Chris Elliott, the council’s head of development control, said the scheme would create homes and jobs on a town centre site that was “empty and derelict”.
But Cllr Barbara Woodifield criticised the design of the proposed development, describing the scheme as an oddity.
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