Planning changes in the New Forest

Published Tuesday 28 March 2006

Anyone involved in a planning application or set to make one is being asked to note important changes to the system in April.

On Saturday 1 April the New Forest National Park Authority becomes the local planning authority within the National Park area.

Maps showing the boundary are available on the New Forest National Park Authority’s website at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk, in detail at www.countryside.gov.uk or on Ordnance Survey maps of the New Forest.

The National Park Authority takes over responsibility for local planning from New Forest District Council in most of the Park area, and from Salisbury District Council and Test Valley Borough Council in the north of the area.

From Monday 3 April, all planning applications within the Park will be handled from the National Park Authority’s headquarters at South Efford House near Lymington. The National Park Authority also takes on responsibility for planning policy, enforcing planning control, listed buildings, conservation areas and tree preservation orders.

Until 1 May tree work applications within the Park will continue be handled through New Forest District Council offices at Appletree Court and tree-related calls should be directed to the Tree Helpline 023 8028 5330.

A state-of-the-art system is being put in place that will enable most applications and queries to be dealt with on-line via the National Park Authority’s website at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk. The system is expected to be fully operational by 1 June. For personal callers the offices will be open Monday to Friday, 8.45am to 5pm. The National Park Authority will open a base for planning surgeries in Lyndhurst in the next couple of months.

Parish councils will continue to be consulted on planning applications in their areas to ensure that local views are taken fully into account.

John Ward, Director of Strategy and Planning for the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘We aim to provide a smooth transition of planning services and continued high levels of service to the public. I would ask, however, that people bear with us in the early days as systems settle down.

‘In order to set up the National Park Authority as the local planning authority we have not only had to transfer 50 years of records from the district councils but also recruit a team and establish new computer systems.’

The contact details for planning from 3 April are:
Planning Directorate
New Forest National Park Authority
South Efford House
Milford Road
Lymington
SO41 0JD
Telephone: 01590 646600
Fax: 01590 646666
E-mail: enquiries@newforestnpa.gov.uk
Web: www.newforestnpa.gov.uk

Leader of New Forest District Council, Councillor Melville Kendal, said: ‘Importantly, for the more than 130,000 New Forest people who live or run businesses outside the boundary there will be no change at all in the planning system. New Forest District Council will continue to provide a first-class planning service to applicants outside the boundary, including the main areas of population such as Totton and the Waterside, Lymington, New Milton and Ringwood. It is now possible to view and comment on planning applications online via our website www.newforest.gov.uk.’

-ends-

Notes to editors

Stricter limits have applied to permitted development in the National Park since it was designated in March 2005.

The main changes to the planning rules for householders are:
icon Schools, colleges, universities and hospitals. These can be extended within certain limits but there is now a requirement that any facing material must be similar to that used on existing buildings.

Media Contact
Martin O'Neill, Head of Communications, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646647
Email: martin.o'neill@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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