New Forest District Council’s Local Plan aims to build 10,500 homes over ten years. In their own summary they admit this is 3 to 4 times their current development rate. 13 of 20 of their proposed strategic development sites are on Green Belt.
This will increase the population in the district and park by roughly 7 times that of Lyndhurst. One of these “Lyndhurst”s will be an entire new village at Fawley, which will increase the population of the park by 10 %, at the wrong end of the already stressed A326 transport corridor. This would have a severe recreational impact on the Forest with disturbance to habitat and livestock, and would further urbanize the already saturated Waterside Area, requiring upgrades to the roads that due to that saturation would necessarily encroach onto the highly protected Crown Lands within the National Park, and would increase traffic westward across the Park on roads already animal accident blackspots.
The New Forest National Park Authority and NFDC share a viability study that accepts the developer’s contention that in order to develop 1500 homes at Fawley, they must build 120 as premium homes on a Site of Importance to Nature Conservation in the National Park. Adjacent to the Power Station site, Tom Tiddler’s Ground is a young coastal grazing marsh that could easily qualify for SSSI status if it were grazed by commoners livestock. [see addendum below for alternatives offered]
The National Park is failing its statutory purposes to conserve and enhance by adopting the poor logic and questionable feasibility behind the NFDC support for the Waterside development, and lack of objection to the scale of NFDC’s 10,500 home plan. The Park Authority and District Council should be working together to fulfil their legal obligation to protect the Forest, not to undermine that protection for the sake of NFDC’s political objectives.
The Friends of the New Forest / NFA are objecting to the NFNPA Local Plan under examination in November, before your next court, because if accepted as it is, it lays the groundwork for NFDC’s Local Plan which presumes the need and scale of the NFDC objectives, including the destruction of Tom Tiddler’s Ground.
The Government 25 Year Environment Plan promises greater protection for National Parks and both designated and undesignated habitats, and a review for possible expansion of the boundaries of National Parks. The Park’s own policy should only allow major development under exceptional circumstances. 10,500 homes in the ostensible buffer around the Park, the intentional destruction of Important habitat, and the decimation of Green Belt flies in the face of any presumption that the National Park provides the Forest with any protection.
We ask the Verderers, in their role as a statutory consultee to support our objections, particularly when the NFDC Local Plan is considered. This is a generational threat to the Forest, and hope that all present in both official and private capacities will join us in this fight.
 Indeed previous attempts to do just that failed only due to unreasonable demands from the Power Station management.
The current proposals range from 1500 homes on both the site and onto the SP25 land, or 4000 homes on the site alone (that profitability in the viability study equates 120 homes on the Park’s area with 2500 homes difference, is an example of the nonsense that the viability study purports, and a veiled threat to make an even more unacceptable development). Even within the Power Station site, the proposals are not limited as they should be to just the former industrial area. There is also an entirely cracked logic that if these homes must be built to fund the Power Station site development, that they must be built there, and not anywhere else in the country, and they must be built first, but with no guarantee that the industrial site would be developed subsequently.
The current proposals for the Power Station site, which do not demonstrate exceptional circumstances required for major development within the Park, should either be abandoned, scaled down to minor settlement, or mixed use for recreation or perhaps most fittingly for its industrial heritage sustainable power generation in the form of a solar array, all of which should be confined wholly to the industrial area alone, and outside the 400m zone of any future and very likely SPA designation.