Beaulieu Parish, located in the south-east corner of the New Forest National Park, is an unspoilt area at the head of the tidal reaches of the Beaulieu River. Beaulieu village, itself, has changed little over the years: the village centre has remained compact and there has been little outlying development in recent times. There are approximately 345 properties in the Parish, the majority of which are privately owned.
Most people who responded to the Beaulieu Parish Plan questionnaires expressed their satisfaction at living in an attractive area close to the river, with delightful surrounding countryside, and with all the advantages which it offers. 72% of the respondents have lived in the area for over 20 years, although only 16% were born within the Parish.
Traffic and tourism have increased vastly with the proliferation of motor vehicles, causing both problems for and benefits to the local community. Cars are needed by visitors to reach the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu village and the surrounding countryside, whilst residents need cars to gain access to nearby towns and villages. Many lorries of ever increasing size negotiate the narrow lanes; some of these same lorries are driven up the village High Street to satisfy the requirements of local businesses, whilst others are just passing through.
Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 September 2013 12:33
In response to the question about new houses for local needs, 17 respondents said that they had members of their household who wanted owner-occupied, affordable housing within the Parish and seven wanted similar accommodation to rent. One person identified a need for sheltered housing.
47% of respondents would support new housing to satisfy local needs and 40% said they might support more development for that reason.
64% were in favour of the conversion of disused buildings for local businesses and services, with 27% responding 'maybe' and only 9% against. However, when it came to constructing new buildings for the same purpose, only 14% were in favour, 49% were unsure, and 37% were against such a move.
16% of those surveyed felt that the planning system had been unsuccessful in controlling development over the last ten years, the rest were satisfied or partly satisfied.
Some of the issues covered in this Parish Plan were addressed in the Beaulieu Village Plan of 1990 which was published jointly by the Beaulieu Estate and the New Forest District Council. The result was a development plan which provided for a number of changes to the built environment, including 20 new houses (mainly housing association) and improvements to community facilities and the landscape. The plan was formally approved. Many of the objectives have been realised, but a few remain to be completed. Our plan looks at present day needs.
The responses to this section indicate that there is a demand for more affordable housing for local people, both to buy and to rent. With the population ageing, the need for sheltered housing may become more necessary. If development is planned sympathetically, and with specific needs in mind it appears likely to be looked upon favourably by respondents. (See Action Plan Project 9 .)
Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 September 2013 12:36
Road traffic causes the biggest problems for residents. 35% of respondents complain that traffic noise bothers them regularly and 34% that it does so occasionally. Aircraft noise is also becoming intrusive with the expansion of regional airports, 24% stating it is a regular problem and 44% an occasional one. Altogether 57% mentioned noise coming from some of the events which take place in the Museum Complex. (See Action Plan Project 10 .)
Road traffic causes the biggest adverse physical and/or visual impact, with 85% saying it affects them either regularly or occasionally. 72% mentioned inconsiderate parking and 66% mentioned litter, followed by 'too many signs' and 'some inappropriate buildings that do not blend in with their surroundings'.
10% were affected by each of the light pollution sources mentioned in the questionnaire. As far as air pollution is concerned, barely 33% was ever bothered by it; the main source of complaint was the Fawley Oil Refinery 'cracker'.
Respondents were also asked to rate the importance of a series of statements. 'Reducing the impact of traffic' came top of the list, followed by 'reducing the impact of parking', next came 'maintenance of public areas and open spaces' and then 'litter picking'.
The impacts of traffic and parking seem to be major problems for residents, and will be assessed further for feasible solutions; these are probably the main concern nowadays in other communities too. (See the Action Plan Projects for traffic and parking that follow.)
Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 September 2013 12:37
72% of respondents go walking regularly, mostly on the open forest and 38% sail regularly. Cycling and horse riding were the next most popular recreational activities. Tennis, running, gardening, and cricket were also favoured occupations.
34% of respondents would like to see more 'off road' cycle routes and children's cycling areas. (See Action Plan Projects 11, 12 and 13 .)
10% were interested in pony riding trails away from the traffic.
Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 September 2013 12:42
70% of households have two or more cars. At home, 82% park their car(s) within the grounds of their property while l4% use a lock-up garage or parking place further off; 4% park on the highway.
Of those adults that are employed or self-employed, 22% work mainly from home and 25% work in Beaulieu. Some 40% reported that they did not use motor transport to get to work but walked or cycled.
75% of respondents travel to the village from their homes by car but 70% would or might consider walking more if footpaths were improved and made safer. For example, there is no good wheelchair/buggy access into the village centre at present either from Hatchett Pond or from Hill Top (see Action Plan Projects 11 and 14 ). 61% of respondents never use a bicycle for local journeys; however, those that do would like to see some safer routes. (See Action Plan Projects 11 and 13 .) Crossing the road safely is also a difficulty, particularly outside the Montagu Arms Hotel and opposite the Church.
87% of respondents never use the bus. If the service was more regular, however, 27% thought they would use it to go to Southampton and 14% to go to Brockenhurst, 74% of respondents would not be interested in an organised car share scheme.
At a meeting with local businesses there was a suggestion that a 'green' bus that linked the village with Buckler's Hard, the Museum Complex and surrounding areas would be an asset. (See Action Plan Projects 20 and 21 .)
Some would like to see the 30mph speed limit extended to Hilltop, to Hatchet Gate or even to Buckler's Hard. The questionnaire asked specifically about speed within the village; a 20 mph limit in the High Street was favoured by 84% of respondents. (See Action Plan Project 15 .)
62% of respondents park in the High Street when visiting the village, with 28% using the car park. About 48% feel that there is enough parking, but about 45% feel that it is inadequate. It was suggested that more parking could be found in the field opposite Fairweather's and adjacent to the hairdressers, or in the field at the end of Fire Station Lane. Whilst the Museum's car park is signposted from the exit of the village car park, 55% of respondents did not feel they would use a car park if it were to be sited out of the village. 79% would support limits on the duration of parking and 66 % thought that some form of permit scheme for High Street residents and business proprietors would be a good idea. 84% felt that parking charges should not be introduced in the High Street. (See Action Plan Project 17 .)
62% felt that there was too much traffic passing through Beaulieu, with 31% feeling that there sometimes was. 95% felt that if it became possible to ban lorries travelling through Beaulieu by providing an alternative route (for example if the road beneath the Ampress Bridge was lowered) they would be in favour. Proposals for gateway markings and bollards on the B3054 road approaching Beaulieu from Hilltop, to make a visual impact to help slow down traffic, have been drawn up, and 67% of respondents felt that these could or might possibly be a good idea (see Action Plan Projects 18 and 19 ), with a few suggesting that they might also be used on the road from Hatchett's Pond to Beaulieu.
A series of questions was asked about possible traffic calming measures. On the whole these measures were not very popular. Thus, 74% did not want traffic lights, and 54% did not want more humps, though opinion was more divided on additional signs in awkward spots. 69% did not feel that a roundabout at the T junction close to the garage was a good idea and 63% did not want to see permanent speed cameras installed anywhere in the Parish. In the case of more signposting at narrow bends, to warn traffic of likely large vehicles approaching, opinion was less clear although 37% were against it. However, in the case of permanent speed activated warning signs, 67% were in favour of them if the locations were right. (See Action Plan Project 18 .)
Parking should be managed with the needs of village residents, services and businesses taken into account. We need to free up parking space in the High Street to help maintain the viability of shops. In encouraging the use of the Village Hall, it would be helpful if visitors to the Hall were exempt from parking fees. Given the local parking on the fairly narrow High Street, HGVs could be banned except for local deliveries.
Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 September 2013 12:11
In the questionnaires and at meetings a number of individual comments were made, all of which have been considered. Some have been included in the Action Plans but others will be retained for consideration in the future.