The provision of affordable housing is an emotive issue across the Stour and Avon Magazine circulation area.
Everybody agrees that it is much needed, but the locations are becoming contentious.
At last week’s Cabinet meeting the Borough of Poole approved proposals for the provision of affordable housing. It said it had investigated 100 sites and out of these five have been identified as possibilities.
They are the former Merley Youth Club site in Chichester Walk, Lytchett Drive in Broadstone and in Creekmoor, Northmead Drive and Creekmoor Lane/Tarn Drive.
Councillor Karen Rampton, cabinet portfolio holder for housing and community services, Borough of Poole, said: “Enabling the development of affordable housing in Poole is a top priority for the Council. With almost 1,000 households on the housing register it is important we investigate using council owned land and assets to meet this commitment.
“The sites have been identified as being potentially suitable for deliverable development and we must now go through a process of exploring the type of development that might be viable. Should we decide that affordable housing is the best option we would then proceed to a formal planning application.”
Opposition to the Merley site has been long running.
In 2014 over 180 local residents attended a public consultation meeting to display the plans for 13 affordable homes provided by a housing association. Local people were outraged that the proposal took away a large section of open space used by them for dog walking, picnics and cycling. A new residents group was formed in response and a petition of over 500 signatures against the plans was presented to the Council by ward Councillor David Brown. The plans were then put on hold pending a review.
Responding to the Cabinet voting to keep the site on the agenda, Councillor David Brown said: “I’m not happy with the council’s decision to proceed with their initial plan which is opposed by hundreds of local people, and I intend to call it in. I am also concerned that there is to be no public consultation about the proposed development.”
Councillor Mike Brooke, who represents the Broadstone ward has also called in the proposal.
He says there are several reasons why the proposed sites in Lytchett Drive and Sandford Way should be withdrawn from the current list of development sites.
He said: “The council is bound by the 1978 legal agreement to maintain the sites as public open space and a play area. Broadstone has less than the Borough’s stated minimum standard of amenity and informal play space.”
He said Broadstone’s Neighbourhood Plan doesn’t support an increase in housing density in the central area of Broadstone which is within 300 metres of the park and recreation ground.
He added there had been no formal consultation with residents and that consultation with ward councillors had been disregarded.
Residents held a protest earlier this week.
Resident Steve Churchill said: “This area of land is used by children from the Lytchett Drive / West Way area and also by children from the Northbrook and York Roads area using access via Mission Lane and the pedestrian crossing.
“Open amenity space is very precious for the development of children and there are very few places within safe and easy reach of homes in the local area. For this area of Broadstone both Broadstone and Springdale parks are too far for young children to safely reach without being accompanied by adults.”
Duncan Gooch said: “I have two children aged seven and 11, who enjoy using this play area regularly. With no suitable alternative, the loss of this area will have a direct impact on the well-being of the children in both social and health terms.”
Nicki Spencer said: “The proposed site is within what is already a densely populated area of Broadstone and is the only safe play area within walking distance for a very large number of young children and teenagers and encourages community as a meeting place for children and adults. The loss of green space would have a detrimental impact on residential amenities which are already struggling to cope with demand.”
There appears to be no opposition to the Creekmoor sites.
In Corfe Mullen, there is continued opposition to a proposal by East Borough Housing Trust to build homes on green belt land at the junction of Sleight Lane and Broadmoor.
In Wimborne, the inadequate provision of affordable homes on the proposed Cuthbury and Cranborne Road sites have been well documented in this magazine.
Article by Marilyn Barber from Blackmore Vale Magazine