Dorset-based housebuilder and developer AJC Group has submitted revised plans for the redevelopment of the Becton Centre, in Barton-On-Sea, Hampshire. The plans reflect feedback from New Forest District Council (NFDC) and stakeholders following refusal of the original plans which were submitted earlier this year.
Responding directly to the feedback given, the revised plans for the 0.35ha (0.86-acre) site now include a two and a half storey apartment building on a reduced footprint, comprising 27 dwellings, a reduction from the original 31 proposed. The design and layout have been amended to increase the separation distance between the buildings and trees, and a more traditional design approach has been adopted to complement the existing local architecture. Concerns had been raised around parking provision and this has also been addressed with a proportionate increase.
David Cracklen, Director of AJC Group, said: “We were extremely disappointed with the refusal of our planning application to redevelop the former Becton Centre. So, we have listened and taken on board the feedback from the NFDC, stakeholders and residents and revised our plans directly addressing the points raised.
“The New Forest has a significant shortfall in available housing land and the demand for homes is high. The Becton Centre is a derelict building on a brownfield site, often these vacant sites can be subject to vandalism and anti-social behaviour. Our plans offer the potential for replacement with a quality residential development built to the Future Homes Standard that will not only create much needed new homes for local people but also complement and enhance this highly desirable seaside location. We are confident our revised plans mitigate previous concerns raised and that this is a viable new development opportunity that can only bring benefit to the local area.”
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. The derelict building has been vacant for several years and is surplus to NHS requirements. The site is within the established suburban area of the village, on the west edge of the New Forest District Council conurbation.
The newly proposed building design is of a traditional style and compliments the character and local architecture of the vernacular. The proposed new homes will introduce more diversity in the type of housing available in the area, as well as an opportunity to attract a younger age profile, to help to create a more balanced local population. The scheme has been designed to meet the needs of the community and adheres to the New Milton Neighbourhood Plan.
Several of the apartments will benefit from private balconies, while communal landscaped gardens to the rear of the building would be accessible by all future residents. The 27 apartments will be split across two and a half storeys and incorporate 40 external car parking spaces for residents and visitors. There has also been space allocated for residents’ cycles and visitor cycle spaces, along with electric car charging points.
The plans also retain the important trees across the site, with additional tree planting and ecological enhancements delivering at least a 10% biodiversity net gain.
Poole-headquartered AJC Group was crowned Fast Rising Property Business of the Year, and Housebuilder of the Year at the 2022 South Coast Property Awards and has been shortlisted for the 2023 Awards for a record five categories. AJC Group has also recently scooped the Affordable Housing development of the year prize at the 2023 Insider South West Property Awards for a development on Herbert Avenue in Bournemouth.
The developer currently has four additional sites under construction including Lindsay Road and The Sloop, which are located in Poole. A partnership project with Aster to deliver 57 affordable homes is well underway in Dorchester. AJC Group is on track to deliver over 200 mixed-tenure homes during 2023, reflecting a total construction value in excess of £100m. The firm has become one of the most active residential development specialists across the Wessex region and has made a commitment to build 500 affordable homes by 2028.