No solution yet for Verwood site vacant for 20 years
HOPES of establishing a new dental surgery in Verwood have been dashed by the refusal of planning permission for a business unit restricted to such a use on land off Howe Lane, Verwood.
The original application for a site within the green belt on which residential development has been three times refused at appeal was for B1 business use or D1 use, covering a range of services including health, childcare and education.
But head of planning Neil Lancaster told East Dorset District Council's planning committee on Tuesday that the applicant Mr Henderson had now indicated that he would be prepared to accept a restriction to use only for the dental surgery indicated in the plans, which had prompted a great deal of local support, including a Facebook campaign.
Mr Henderson had said that while he had strong interest from someone wanting to establish a surgery, he had no firm commitment, and Mr Lancaster said the fact that the use was suggested in the illustrations did not mean it would happen.
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There were, however, a number of objections to what was claimed would be a cramped development, and particularly to parking proposals which allowed for only six vehicles which would have to reverse out onto the road when leaving the premises.
There was no objection from the highway authority, but members and residents highlighted the congestion occurring in the area during the school run, with parents parking to drop their children off at two nearby schools.
Local member Councillor Mrs Toni Coombs said: "It is a very constrained site, and I have a lot of concerns about the impact on neighbours. But we do need a pragmatic solution for a site which has been vacant for 20 years, and traffic issues alone are not enough to justify refusal."
She proposed approval with restrictions to include the retention of oak trees subject to a tree preservation order, removal of permitted development rights, and limiting the use to a dental surgery.
But Councillor Barbara Manuel said she was concerned it would be followed by an application to change the use, and Councillor Ann Warman said she was totally against the proposal because there was not enough car parking space.
Councillor Derek Burt added: "On many occasions we have been told that people should be able to leave premises in a forward gear. Here we have six parking space in close proximity backing out into the road. I do not think it is satisfactory. And if the dentist use failed, we would be faced with having to find another use for it."
It was agreed to refuse the application on the grounds that the building would appear cramped on a relatively narrow and restricted site and would, together with parking along the site frontage, result in inappropriate development and be
detrimental to the street scene.