DEVELOPERS have finally submitted plans for a footbridge linking the luxury Lymington Shores housing scheme with the town centre.

Civic chiefs have received a planning application following months of controversy over delays to the £1 million project, which will span the Lymington to Brockenhurst railway line.

Permission for 168 waterside homes to be built on the old Webbs chicken factory site was granted by the district council in 2012.

Under a legal agreement the developer, Redrow Homes, was required to build the footbridge before the 75th dwelling - later amended to the 125th - was occupied.

But the bridge failed to materialise as negotiations between Redrow and the rail authorities dragged on.

Earlier this year Sir Desmond Swayne, Tory MP for New Forest West, wrote to Southern Western Railway following a meeting with the Lymington Society, which has often criticised the time being taken to provide the structure.

Sir Desmond received a reply from the company's managing director, Andy Mellors, who said his colleagues shared the MP's frustration.

Mr Mellors said: "I appreciate that this project is taking longer than many would have hoped.

"However from what my team have told me I feel we have done - and are continuing to do - everything we can to facilitate this happening while still protecting the needs of passengers."

Redrow's managing director, Jon Fletcher, said the scheme had to satisfy the requirements of Network Rail, Hampshire County Council and South Western Railway as well as complying with planning policies.

Now Redrow has finally submitted a proposal to the council.

The application says: "The footbridge will provide a safe, convenient and direct route between Lymington Shores, Lymington Town station and the town centre.

"It will reduce walking time by approximately five minutes and make walking a more attractive option."

The council's initial assessment of the application says: "The station side of the line lies within the Lymington Conservation Area and the station building is recognised as being of local significance in terms of its contribution to the townscape.

"The site is very prominent in views down Station Street.

"The original planning permission for the development included a footbridge to link the Lymington Shores development with the town centre. This application seeks consent for a different design for the bridge, which has been subject of extensive consultation with the public and the relevant authorities.

"The provision of the footbridge is considered essential to the success of the Lymington Shores development and the initial view is that this revised design is worthy of support."