Planners to rule on new scheme for Ringwood landmark site

The old district council offices in Ringwood.

The old district council offices in Ringwood.

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter, New Forest

DEVELOPERS have launched another attempt to bulldoze a town’s landmark building and redevelop the site.

Current Asset Ltd wants to transform a prime town centre location by replacing Ringwood’s former town hall with 15 homes.

District councillors are being urged to approve the scheme, despite objections from the town council and people living near the site in Christchurch Road.

Four months ago councillors rejected a proposal to build 11 homes and a small branch of Morrisons there.

They went against the advice of council officers and refused consent after warning that traffic generated by the supermarket would block the entrance and exit to the neighbouring fire station.

Now Current Asset Ltd has scrapped the supermarket proposal and submitted a revised scheme.

A report to today’s meeting of the council’s planning committee says the applicant is proposing to demolish all the buildings on the site and fell six trees. It says changes to the design have resulted in a building that will be more in keeping with its surroundings.

The report adds: “The proposed development would make a far more positive contribution to the area than the previously refused scheme and would be an improvement on the existing situation.

“While the loss of trees would have a significant impact in the short-term the quality of the development would be high and the replacements would provide long-term enhancements.”

Ringwood Town Council has objected to the latest proposal, citing the potential impact on existing homes and what it describes as the “inadequate” number of parking spaces.

The district council has received ten letters of objection from people complaining about the height of the proposed buildings. Some of the critics claim the privacy of people living in Woodstock Lane would be ruined.

But planning committee members are being recommended to authorise council officers to approve the scheme, subject to various legal agreements being signed by February 3.

The town hall has stood empty since it was replaced by the £2m Ringwood Gateway complex.

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