CIVIC chiefs have approved the latest plan to redevelop a former transport hub in an upmarket Hampshire town after rejecting two previous proposals.

A multi million-pound-proposal by Landford Estates to replace the old Lymington bus station with nine homes, a shop and offices has been given the go-ahead.

It follows an unsuccessful attempt by another company, Ringwood-based Renaissance Retirement, to use the high-profile site for housing.

Renaissance applied for planning permission to build a retail unit and 17 sheltered flats for the elderly after the bus station closed to the public in 2015.

New Forest Post:

Two £10m proposals submitted by the company were rejected by New Forest District Council (NFDC). Renaissance lodged appeals but both were dismissed following a public inquiry two years ago.

Lymington and Pennington Town Council supported the Landford scheme, which has now been approved by NFDC planning officers under delegated powers.

Their report says: “The scheme would positively enhance its sensitive heritage setting, having regard to the poor quality environment that presently exists on the site and the high quality scheme that would result.”

The decision to approve the application comes just weeks after it was backed by conservation watchdogs at the Lymington Society.

In a letter to the council the society praised the authority for “sticking to its guns”, saying its opposition to the previous plan had resulted in a “good quality” scheme coming forward in its place.

For the past four years the town centre site has been used for storing buses.

New Forest Post:

A group called Friends of Lymington Bus Station made an unsuccessful attempt to persuade NFDC to designate the facility as an asset of community value, which would have given locals the right to bid for the site if it went on sale.

Landford Estates bought the site from Go Ahead Group, parent company of local operator MoreBus, in 2018. Now the company is set to forge ahead with plans for a mews-style development featuring two rows of terraced houses lining a cobbled lane.

A new retail unit will narrow the entrance to the site with offices on the first and second floors.

Rory Fitzwilliams, managing director of Landford Estates, said: “We are delighted to have received the green light from planners and expect to start work in the autumn, with completion by the end of 2020.”