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Affordable Housing Specialist AJC Group Submits Planning for Former NHS Building in Hampshire
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Dorset-headquartered AJC Group has submitted a planning application for the redevelopment of the former NHS Becton Centre, which currently lies vacant. The site is situated in the Hampshire village of Barton-on-Sea, near The New Forest National Park. The application proposes the demolition of the existing building and redevelopment of the site to create an architecturally designed building incorporating 31 contemporary apartments. 

The 0.35ha (0.86-acre) brownfield site is located on the south side of The Fairway, which is a no through road (cul de sac). The site is situated c.500m north of the sea front at Marine Drive, with sea views across Barton-on-Sea’s coastal golf course to the south. The redundant building is within the established suburban area of the village, on the western edge of the New Forest District Council conurbation. 

Formerly owned and operated by Southern Health Foundation Trust, the Becton Centre was constructed in the 1950s as a residential mental health facility for older people. AJC Group’s full planning application for the redevelopment of the site has been prepared by RTPI accredited L Planning. A collection of high EPC-rated one- to three-bedroom apartments is proposed, designed by ARC Architects. 

The site is in a sustainable location, being well positioned to access town and local centres, including the nearby shops, services, and public transport facilities of Barton-on-Sea. It is within walking distance of several local amenities and bus stops offering regular services. Only a mile away is New Milton town centre, which has a train station providing access to the national rail network and is on the main line between London and Weymouth. 

David Cracklen, Director of AJC Group, said: “We are very pleased to have acquired this well-known former hospital site, having now submitted a planning application detailing our proposals. This is our third? project in Hampshire, and with the site being so close to the New Forest, we have taken great care in designing an energy-efficient development that will complement and enhance the area. Redeveloping the vacant Becton Centre will create much-needed new homes for local people in a beautiful location. We are looking forward to working with New Forest District Council and all stakeholders while our application is considered.” 

The character of the area surrounding The Fairway is predominantly residential, with a mix of detached, semi, and terraced dwellings with flatted blocks close to the application site. AJC Group’s proposed building design is of a contemporary modern style that compliments the local architectural vernacular. The development is designed to meet the needs of the community and adheres to the New Milton Neighbourhood Plan. The proposed new homes will introduce more diversity in the type of housing available in the area, as well as seeking to attract a younger age profile to help to create a more balanced local population. 

The design for the 31 apartments is split across three storeys and incorporates 38 external car parking spaces, with one of them being a car club parking space. There is also space for 46 bikes, along with three electric charging points and eight visitor cycle spaces. Most of the apartment designs benefit from private balconies, while communal landscaped gardens to the rear of the building would be accessible by all future residents. 

AJC Group is on track to deliver over 200 mixed-tenure homes during 2023, reflecting a total construction value in excess of £100m. The rapidly growing housebuilding firm has become one of the most active affordable housing specialists across the Wessex region. 

Six sites are currently under construction by AJC Group, including a development in the village of Okeford Fitzpaine near Blandford Forum in rural Dorset. Live projects on Lindsay Road, The Sloop, and Herbert Avenue, are all located in Poole, while The Sonnet apartment scheme is in Bournemouth. The firm has also recently started construction at one of its largest projects, which will deliver 57 affordable houses and apartments for Aster Group within the former Dorchester Brewery regeneration scheme. 

Posted on: 26th April 2023
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