WORK has started on an extension to a Hampshire attraction visited by tens of thousands of people from across the globe.

The latest application to enlarge a motorcycle museum opened by the legendary Sammy Miller in the 1990s was given the go-ahead earlier this year.

Miller, who won more than 1,300 motorcycle trials during his career and was British trials champion 11 times, was awarded an MBE in 2009.

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His initial application to extend the museum in Bashley Cross Road, New Milton, was thrown out in June last year.

But a revised scheme was given the nod at a meeting of the district council’s planning committee, even through the complex is situated on greenbelt land.

In a letter to the committee New Milton councillor Neil Tungate said: “The museum is internationally renowned and is something in which local residents take pride.”

Committee members approved the application to demolish part of a single-storey building and replace it with a two-storey complex.

A report to councillors said the museum had revised its plan by reducing the height of the extension and moving it further away from the main buildings.

The report added: “It’s stated the extension will enable the necessary expansion to take place while also significantly improving public access to the collection.”

A museum spokesperson said work on the 10,000sq ft extension should be completed by next spring.

They added: “We are extending the ground floor area, which will enable Sammy to display even more bikes - two rows on either side and one additional row in the middle of this floor.

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“The first floor will contain specific bike collections and an area where we can archive and display items in our library, which is currently situated in a corner of the racing gallery.”

The spokesperson said the museum housed one of the most important motorcycle collections in the world and attracted visitors from across the globe.

They added: “Visitor numbers are in the tens of thousands and increasing year on year as the collection grows. This in turn has a positive effect on local tourist infrastructure.

“The museum continues to receive important exhibits to add to the existing collection and is committed to develop and protect the contents for future generations.

“This will ensure the unique motorcycle collection which Sammy has built up over five decades is kept together and safeguarded for the nation.”

The cost of the scheme has not been revealed.