PLANS to transform Lymington’s former bus station into retirement homes and shops have been rejected by civic chiefs.

The £10 million plans had been submitted to the New Forest District Council after a rejection of the retirement company’s first proposals.

Ringwood-based Renaissance Retirement’s revised plans drew widespread criticism among the council’s planning committee, who refused the application yesterday.

The plans include the formation of 17 sheltered apartments for the elderly, with a retail unit, car parking and a bin store.

Despite the facility no longer being used as a station, it still sees buses parked on the premises.

Cllr Alan Penson, a member of the committee and who represents Lymington, said the plans were inadequate.

He said: “Many people would prefer to see this remain a bus station, but that’s not going to be the situation. I don’t agree with these plans but I would like to think that something could progress.

“The development has to give more commercial space. They are offering one retail unit, and that’s inadequate.”

Seventeen councillors refused the proposals, but the retirement company says it will be appealing the decision.

Cllr Maureen Holding said: “There’s not even any sitting space. There are a few benches, but who would want to sit in between three storeys? It’s supposed to be a conservation area and what we’re seeing is more and more crammed in.

“It’s cramped and contrived.

“I worry about Lymington, this was so beautiful 20 years ago.”

Simon McFarlane, associated planning director at Renaissance Retirement, said: “The consultation documents state that there is a further increase in population between 2016 and 2036 of 22,000 people.  
"All of this projected growth is in the 65-plus age group.  It follows that there is a huge need for retirement properties, suitable for downsizing by active older households."