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Lyndhurst Liberal Democrats are supporting the campaign to resist the demolition of the former Lyndhurst Park Hotel and the building of a retirement home of 74 flats for the elderly with 12 holiday lets. Objections have been flooding into the New Forest National Park planning department which will decide on the application by the end of March.

The original building, Glasshayes House, is a Georgian country house which is still intact within the ugly 20th century additions and is part of Lyndhurst’s heritage. It could be restored and put to good use in the community. The very bland architecture of the proposed blocks of flats do not enhance the environment of Bolton’s Bench and the Eastern approach to Lyndhurst and are not in keeping with the local vernacular.

There is no provision for affordable housing and the development will not meet local housing needs for families who have grown up in the Forest or who work there. The arrival of a large number of older people will upset the age balance of the population and could overwhelm the already stretched medical and social services in the village.

The developers, financed by Deutsche Bank and a hedge fund registered in the Cayman Islands, stand to make a multi-million pound profit from the scheme.

Liberal Democrats believe that the planners should insist that the site is used in a way that benefits the village and its people.

Liberal Democrats also believe that Lyndhurst has already an over capacity of retirement homes, some of which remain unsold.

We believe that the very high purchase prices likely to be charged per unit at the proposed new retirement home on the site of the old Lyndhurst Park Hotel will jack up New Forest property prices even more, thereby making it almost impossible for young people to afford to move into the area. What we need instead is affordable homes for young people in order to breathe new life into the New Forest and in this case, Lyndhurst.

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