Land-led Schemes

Bargates, Dorset


Having been selected as the chosen developer for the land on the site of the former magistrates’ court and police station, car parks and other disused land, we are delighted to completed the purchase of the land and are now bringing to the local community an exciting development of new homes as well as flexible community / retail space and retirement living. The plans were approved by BCP Councils Planning Committee under application numbers 8/18/3263/FUL and 8/18/3264/DCONS. There are two references because of the conservation area that part of the site is located in. You can view the submitted planning documentation by clicking here and filling in the application numbers in the appropriate box.


The project includes 130 new homes for Christchurch in a range of different home types and tenures, including affordable homes, such as discount/starter homes, and homes for affordable rent and shared ownership. This will allow more local families to secure affordable homes in the area they love. Also included in the approved development are 39 units of sheltered accommodation, and 612 square metres of flexible commercial/community space, a new road connecting Bargates and Barrack Road, initially for pedestrians and cyclists only, new vehicular access from Barrack Road (to serve the sheltered accommodation only), new private and semi-private gardens, public open space, hard and soft landscaping, surface vehicular parking and residential garages.

The plans have been shaped by many factors, including the feedback received throughout the public consultation process. In a nutshell:

  • We have significantly reduced the retail element in the proposed development and increased its uses for flexibility purposes.
  • We are retaining as many trees as possible on the site, and our landscape proposals include more trees to be planted than there are currently on the site.
  • We have removed a proposed footpath to Twynham Avenue that we received concerns about, and we are proposing a strip of trees, hedges, and shrubs between rear gardens and the proposed development, which will act as a green buffer, make instead of made attractive to local wildlife through the use of native tree and plant species rich in berries – their natural diet.
  • We will provide safe pedestrian crossings on Barrack Road and Bargates, and one of the Barrack Road crossings is now designed for use by cyclists as well.
  • An eastbound bus stop on Barrack Road has also been included.

Have a look at the fly-though overview of the development below.

Bargates Flythrough

Frequently asked questions about the site 

A number of measures have been taken to alleviate concerns that new occupants will park in adjoining roads. A thorough review of the on-site parking provision was undertaken to ensure ample parking capacity for new residents is accommodated within the new development, avoiding overspill into surrounding areas. Small adjustments to the layout freed up areas which will allow incidental short term parking on the streets within the development.


A Transport Assessment submitted with the application shows that the existing site generates 66 AM and 65 PM two-way peak hour movements. The ‘new’ vehicle trip generation at the threshold of the site would give a total of only 41 AM and 37 PM vehicle trips, which would be split between the four proposed site accesses. As such, the development will result in a net reduction of 25 and 28 two-way trips generated during the AM and PM peak hours respectively at the threshold of the site.

Pedestrian Access

A key objective in the development’s design was to create strong connections with the rest of the town centre. To encourage a greater number of trips being made by foot and to improve road safety, the plans include two crossings over Barrack Road. One crossing, known as a ‘toucan’ crossing designed for both pedestrians and cyclists will be delivered in front of the sheltered accommodation building. A further crossing specifically designed for pedestrians (known as a ‘pelican crossing’) will be situated nearer the Fountain Roundabout to create a direct footpath link between the development and the High Street. This will make it safe for people to cross the road, making walking into town and accessing public transport stops easier.

Another pelican crossing will be created on Bargates, again situated near the roundabout, to promote pedestrian travel between the development and the town centre.

At the request of BCP Council, provision has been made to widen a stretch of the Barrack Road footpath where it is adjacent to the site. The wider footpath aims to encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport as is appropriate for a town centre location. The Barrack Road frontage is poorly served by bus stops and provision has been made to allow a new eastbound bus stop to be positioned close to the sheltered accommodation block.

Vehicle Access

There will be four vehicle access points to the site. At present there are three access points from the A35 Barrack Road into the site. As part of the proposed access arrangements two of these, the police station and crossover access to the single residential dwelling, are to be relocated c.20m east of their current positions. The access to the Pit Site Car Park is to be retained and improved. Similarly, the access from the B3073 Bargates will also be retained with no proposed changes to the current geometry of the junction.

The westernmost access will serve the proposed retirement flats and function as a vehicular crossover as opposed to a full bell-mouth arrangement. The eastern access onto the A35 Barrack Road (which currently serves as the access to the Pit Site Car Park) will be retained in its current location and improved to an adoptable standard to serve the existing retained uses (including the Conservative Club) and the proposed commercial/community space and residential flats.

The central access will function as the primary entrance into the site and will lead to the proposed internal spine road connecting with an existing access located on the B3073 Bargates to the northeast. Aster is contractually obliged to construct a new road connecting Barrack Road and Bargates, so as not to compromise any future road and infrastructure plans for the Town. However, a number of consultees have raised concerns that the new road will become a “rat run”.  Asters updated plans introduce proposals to include planters within the road, effectively creating two cul-de-sacs, with a through route for pedestrians and cyclists only.


At present, the area of Barrack Road is dominated by vehicles and buildings. The development aims to soften this by proposing generous planting and the use of open spaces, drawing from the distinctive character of the recreation ground, tree avenue and gingko trees beyond.

In addition, the majority of houses will each have a garden that is comparable to its own building footprint. By ensuring that most houses have gardens that are at a minimum  equal to their own house footprint, this offers the right level of transition from existing town centre examples where gardens are small or non-existent but well-tended, and the larger garden plots as seen in Twynham Avenue and outwards from the town centre.

The development aims  to create a useable extension to the High Street that is sympathetic to local heritage features, enhances ecology through a programme of native planting, introduces more trees and planting which helps with sustainable drainage and air pollution, and makes the area look attractive for residents and visitors. This will be achieved in the following ways:

  • Existing mature trees are to be retained as much as possible.
  • Increase the number of trees on site
  • Including small areas of open space


We have carefully considered how to ensure that the potential of the site is unlocked, whilst wherever possible and appropriate incorporating existing trees into the new development. Although some trees are to be removed, these are primarily of low to moderate importance. After extensive engagement with the Council’s planning and arboricultural officers, substantial modifications have been made to the layout to maintain important (particularly TPO) trees, particularly along the site’s western boundary. The temporary impact of any tree removal should be seen in the balance in terms of new tree planting across the site. An arboricultural assessment report has been prepared and submitted with this application.


The extensive native tree planting programme, as well as the retained trees on site, provide ecological value through the provision of habitat and the extension of the value of the recreation ground opposite the site. The tree planting coupled with bird and bat boxes as well as corridors of native hedge and other native planting will ensure year-round ecological value.


An appropriate amount of residential dwellings and commercial/community units have been approved for this town centre location, in accordance with the Council’s design brief for the site, local and national density planning policies.

In general, the buildings on the borders of the site will be smaller than those in the centre with up to three and a half storeys and generally two-storey homes in the centre. The exception to this will be to the north of the housing portion of the site, where more prominent buildings will front Fountain Roundabout, Bargates and Barrack Road to reflect the existing character of the surrounding streets.

The proposed site layout places commercial / community space units where they front a pedestrian route, allowing accessibility through the site. This means that these units will have strong links with Bargates and the town centre. The layout also creates courtyard spaces and parking areas whilst increasing pedestrian permeability through the site.

A network of pedestrian-friendly streets and open spaces that will connect Barrack Road to Bargates are included in the plans. This will reinforce the existing hierarchy of streets found in the town centre and create clear differentiation between primary streets and pedestrian-friendly lanes and spaces.

In the recently updated plans, minora djustments to the positioning of a small number of residential buildings within the site were made, in order to improve privacy for future residents and allow some areas of road to be widened, creating more casual visitor parking.Window positions have been altered on a couple of dwellings to avoid overlooking of existing homes.

The removal of a garage has allowed a slight shift of one terrace to allow more space around an existing tree that is to be retained.

Materials & Architecture

Attention has been paid to the setting of the new development. Roof lines will create subtle changes in scale within the street scene, with small scale adjustments in height to emphasise corners and feature buildings. More significant contrasts in height can be created where a landmark feature is desirable, such as opposite the Fountain Roundabout.

The materials proposed for use in this development focus on a range of locally sourced materials and those typically used in the town centre, with a mix of colours and textures to ensure variety. A common theme will be the use of red and buff bricks, render, plain tiles and slate.

The design of the proposed houses is inspired by existing town centre precedents such as Silver Street and Millhams Street.

In the updated plans the palette of building materials have been further enhanced, ensuring the proposals respect the surroundings and the conservation area. Elements of Flemish bond have been added to some of the buildings facing outwards towards Barrack Road and the Fountain roundabout, which is a common and attractive feature of the local architecture.  Render colours have been updated on some properties, and balconies have been added to the rear of what is known as Block A, which fronts the Fountain Roundabout.

Aster has given careful consideration to the potential impact the development may have on neighbouring properties. The proposed site layout was drawn up with this in mind with (in general) smaller properties at the borders and larger, more noticeable buildings nearer the centre.

In response to feedback raising concerns about potential impacts, a number of changes were made to the submitted application, including:

  • provision of wildlife area on the North West site boundary, at the rear of Twynham Avenue properties
  • omission of proposed pedestrian link through to Twynham Avenue
  • Window positions have been altered on a couple of dwellings to avoid overlooking of existing homes

Aster is contractually obliged to construct a new road connecting Barrack Road and Bargates, so as not to compromise any future road and infrastructure plans for the Town.

However, a number of consultees have raised concerns that the new road will become a “rat run”.  Asters updated plans introduce proposals to include planters within the road, effectively creating two cul-de-sacs, with a through route for pedestrians and cyclists only.

Should the need for a fully functioning through road arise in the future the removal of the planters would allow this.

Through discussions with planning officers at the pre-application stage, it was agreed that although the site is positioned within Christchurch’s ‘primary shopping area’, the scheme would not be retail-led. Feedback from community consultation at the pre-application stage indicated a strong preference to avoid introducing large-scale new retail, which many felt would have the effect of ‘diluting’ existing retail offer in the town centre (especially on Bargates).

Therefore, the proposed development focusses not on quantity but on quality, providing a visually distinct ‘rounding off’ to the retail part of Bargates, with flexibility to adapt between different retail, commercial and community uses in response to economic uncertainty. All of these uses are suitable in the town centre and will provide an economic stimulus.

Aster has entered into an S106 agreement to secure appropriate provision for infrastructure and local services in accordance with the CIL Regulations 2010 (as amended). Any obligations must meet all of the following tests:

  • Necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms;
  • Directly related to the development; and
  • Fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.

The S106 agreement has been finalised, and includes:

  • Affordable housing
  • Heathland mitigation
  • Highway improvements
  • Education contributions
  • Residential travel plans; and
  • Waste arrangements

An Ecological Assessment has been undertaken on the application site by Ecosupport, which reflects over two years’ survey and assessment work which has informed the evolution of this application. These surveys (including for badger and bats) conclude that the site is of relatively low ecological value, although the potential for protected species has been identified. The site is located within the vicinity of the Dorset Heathlands Special Protection Area (SPA), with a low number of other designated sites also present in the locality.

Informed by these assessments, measures have been detailed within the ecological report to avoid any potential ecological impacts prior to or during construction, to ensure the proposal can proceed in full compliance with all relevant wildlife legislation and policy. In addition, ecological enhancements have been included to increase the site’s potential to support biodiversity in the future, in compliance with planning policy. These include:

  • The provision of bird and bat boxes on-site
  • Native planting of tree and shrub species
  • Provision of an wildlife area beyond the rear gardens of units 1 – 9 along the western boundary with properties on Twynham Avenue

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One of our largest ever land-led schemes on the site of a former magistrates' court and police station in Bargates, Christchurch.

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At Cherry Grove we’re redeveloping one of our existing sites to provide 21 new affordable homes which will comprise one and two-bedroom flats, and two and three-bedroom houses.

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Totton, Hampshire.

Nestled on the edge of the New Forest, our second largest scheme (after Bargates) is set to deliver 80 new affordable homes in Totton, Hampshire.Nestled on the edge of the New Forest, our second largest scheme (after Bargates) is set to deliver 80 new affordable homes in Totton, Hampshire.

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Our team

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Contact us if you’d like to speak to us about an opportunity.

Jane Gallifent
Jane Gallifent
Director of Development and Sales

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Deb Thomas
Deb Thomas
Assistant Development Director – London & Home Counties

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Hannah Watkins
Hannah Watkins
Assistant Development Director - Development (Developer-led/S106 and Community Housing)

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Paul Backhouse
Paul Backhouse
Assistant Development Director - Land and Planning

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Tony Clifford
Tony Clifford
Assistant Development Director - Construction and Technical

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Amy Nettleton
Amy Nettleton
Assistant Development Director – Sales and Marketing

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Bargates, Christchurch


One of our largest ever land-led schemes on the site of a former magistrates’ court and police station in Bargates, Christchurch. The 169-home development will provide a mix of affordable, open market sale, discount sale and retirement properties all of which are much needed by people in the area. The scheme will also deliver 612m2 of flexible commercial space, a variety of highways improvements and significant enhancements to existing green space around the town.