Decision on 15 new flats off the A31 at St Leonards deferred

A decision on plans for 15 flats off the A31 at St Leonards and St Ives has been deferred after claims it would add to the traffic danger on the busy dual carriageway.

Dorset councillors questioned the need to have access off the main road, adjacent to the BP filling station. They also queried the levels of parking for the site and questioned whether bin lorries would be able to have full access.

There was also a concern that the £58,000 payment towards affordable housing elsewhere was adequate or whether at least one ‘affordable’ home should be provided on the 184 Ringwood Road site.

The application, from Harbourwood Homes Ltd, includes the demolition of a chalet-style bungalow and outbuildings currently on the site.

Former road safety officer Norman Drake, who lives in the area, said the site access, off the dual carriageway, was an accident waiting to happen and warned, that if one did, it was likely to lead to life-changing injuries, or even death.

He said his own traffic counts in the morning rush hour and later in the day came up with an average of just over 2,000 vehicles an hour, around two hundred of them using the slip road, which runs adjacent to the site access, to get to the garage.

The parish council told the meeting that they also worried about the likely increased traffic risk and were concerned that the proposed three story block would change the character of the area and might lead to a precedent being set for other large garden sites, which were common in the area.

But despite the comments about traffic fears the proposal had not been objected to by National Highways who were content with the access, subject to some changes, a point emphasised by an agent for the developers.

He also told the committee that the new building had been designed not to overlook neighbouring properties and only glimpses of it would be seen from the main road as most of the mature trees on the plot were to be retained.

The application, with queries from councillors answered, is expected to be considered again at a planning meeting on February 22nd.

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