PLANS to axe a New Forest police station and move officers to nearby council offices have been given the go-ahead.

Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, has confirmed that officers based at Lymington police station will transfer to the town hall, which is owned by New Forest District Council.

Facilities at the new station - due to open next year - will include a front counter, an interview room and meeting rooms.

The plan is part of a county-wide strategy aimed at reducing running costs by disposing of old, expensive-to-maintain stations and sharing other buildings with other organisations.

Mr Lane said: “Providing effective and efficient bases for the officers and staff who serve our communities has always been one of my priorities.”

Most of the people employed by the district council work at its Lyndhurst headquarters but some are still based at Lymington town hall, which is also home to Lymington and Pennington Town Council and the New Forest National Park Authority.

Mr Lane said: “This move will see the police even closer to the centre of Lymington, where they will continue to keep residents safer.”

Chief Inspector Robert Mitchell, head of New Forest police, added: “I am glad the local neighbourhoods and response teams will be able to work in modern, fit-for-purpose accommodation while remaining in the centre of the community we serve.”

The plan was also welcomed by Cllr Barry Rickman, leader of the district council.

He said: “We are pleased to be able to accommodate the police at Lymington town hall, working with them for the benefit of the local community and supporting the continued police service in Lymington.”

The current police station in Southampton Road is just around the corner from the council offices.

A spokeswoman for Mr Lane said: “The Commissioner’s estate strategy continues to retain police officers in a mix of new and refurbished bases within the communities they serve.

“The redevelopment of the estate supports effective delivery of modern policing now and into the future.”

Several police stations in the New Forest have already closed.

Officers who were based at the Hythe and Ringwood stations have transferred to nearby fire stations. Those serving the New Milton area now work out of the town council offices.