The New Forest National Park Authority has approved the planning development proposal on the site of the former Fawley power station.

At a virtual meeting today, the Authority’s Planning Committee approved the scheme which has been five years in the planning, and is the most significant to have ever been considered by the National Park Authority.

The scheme includes the redevelopment of the former power station, a key brownfield site, to create a new community including 1,500 homes, 96,500 square metres of new commercial, civic and employment space, with a canal and dock and a boat stack. All will be supported by new infrastructure and community facilities in the form of a two-form entry primary school, public open space, a new Nature Park and habitat enhancements. The development will be served by a new access off the B3053. As the proposals encompass land within the New Forest District and New Forest National Park, separate outline planning applications were submitted to both authorities. Both have worked closely together over the past five years to draw up policies in their Local Plans which set out their requirements and expectations for the site. These were subject to several rounds of consultation and an examination in public by Government planning inspectors.

Yesterday (27th July), members of the New Forest District Council approved the development within their area. Fawley Waterside Ltd will start infrastructure development in 2021 with the first homes expected to be available by 2023.

Steve Avery, Director of Strategy and Planning at the New Forest National Park Authority said: ‘After five years of detailed negotiations we have secured a high-quality scheme for this large redundant power station site that will bring lasting benefits for the landscape, wildlife and the local economy. Half the new homes in the National Park will be for local people in housing need. It is the most significant development to have ever been considered by the National Park Authority.

‘The benchmark we set is that any development should be of such an exceptionally high standard that there should be no reason why the whole of the site should not be included in and be worthy of National Park status in the future.’

‘There is work to do now on completing the legal agreement and once the outline planning permissions have been issued, detailed planning approval will still be required to agree the layout, design and landscaping for each phase of the new development.’

Councillor Barry Rickman, Leader of New Forest District Council said: ‘This decision marks the start of a truly exciting project that will revitalise the economic future of the New Forest area. I would like to extend my tremendous thanks to all those involved, council officers and members, partners and interested groups in our community, whose contributions have all brought us to this point.

‘As well as providing much needed affordable housing, this development will provide employment opportunities, as well as supporting the ever-increasing amount of home working.’

Aldred Drummond, CEO of Fawley Waterside said: ‘We’re pleased with the strong support from District Councillors and the National Park Authority and their recognition of the enormous efforts that have gone into these outline planning applications. Our ambition has always been to build one of the most beautiful small towns in England, one with solid economic purpose that provides much needed job opportunities and acts as a significant economic boost for the Waterside. Paramount is the protection of the New Forest and enhancement of the landscape and biodiversity surrounding this new town.’