OPINION – Caroline Ansell MP

The application by Untold Living to increase the number of flats from 79 to 137 has caused a great deal of local concern and generated a wave of objections though the planning portal. This public consultation is an important part of the process.

For my part, I arranged a meeting with the developer this week, with Conservative Councillor Nigel Goodyear and the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association (SHRA), to channel those concerns directly to Untold Living whilst they are in the design phase.

They were keen to emphasise that this represents substantial local investment of up to £70 million and it is certainly true that we desperately need new housing options in our town but with the near doubling in the number of retirement flats proposed since planning was first granted, we challenged the scale of this new proposal, especially its height. I am sure they will have sought some pre -application advice from the borough council on this.  

As it stands, the development is unacceptable, but we want to see if we can work together to arrive at a proposal which can be welcomed by the local community.

The application will not be heard for some time because important survey work for Southern Water is yet to be undertaken. We therefore have time. They say they want to work with the community and so we will meet again and help to make this happen. Details to follow.