CIVIC chiefs are being urged to approve plans to restore a monument to one of Hampshire’s greatest naval heroes.

Campaigners have applied for planning permission to clean and restore a 75ft obelisk built in memory of Admiral Sir Harry Burrard Neale, who lived in Lymington and was the town’s MP.

They are also seeking almost £100,000 of National Lottery cash to help fund the project.

The Grade II-listed obelisk in Walhampton Lane was completed 175 years ago to celebrate the life of Sir Harry, who lived nearby in a huge house that is now Walhampton School.

Sir Harry rose to become Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet. He captured or destroyed 20 enemy vessels during his career as well as helping to defeat a mutiny and was also an MP for a total of 25 years.

The proposed restoration of the monument is being hailed as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to refurbish the Egyptian-style obelisk.

Campaigners are planning to reverse the ravages of time by cleaning and repairing the structure. Some of the paving slabs surrounding the base of the monument are due to be replaced and improvements to the drainage system are also proposed.

A planning application has been submitted to the New Forest National Park Authority. A design and access statement says: “The proposed works will ensure that the monument will be conserved and protected and continue to remain a heritage structure with architectural and historical importance for the future.”

The application for funding has been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Conservation watchdogs at the Lymington Society teamed up with the town council and the Sway-based charity SPUD to compile the bid, which cost £5,000 to put together.

If the application is successful some of the cash will be used to fund a community programme aimed at telling Sir Harry’s story. The entire scheme is expected to cost about £130,000.

Don Mackenzie, of the Lymington Society, is chairman of the Burrard Neale Monument Restoration Project, which has already removed vegetation from around the monument.

Dr Mackenzie said: “We are grateful to the town council for helping to fund this impressive bid, which hopefully will result in Lymington’s important monument being put into great shape for the next 175 years.”