PART of a historic Hampshire hotel has collapsed - sparking fears for the rest of the landmark building.

A three-storey section of the Lyndhurst Park Hotel came crashing down in a dramatic incident that has left a huge hole in the back of the complex.

Lyndhurst residents have spent years complaining about the condition of the derelict hotel, which has stood empty since it closed in 2014.

Now a large chunk of the iconic building has dropped into the fenced-off area.

New Forest Post:

The hotel was at the centre of a long-running battle between PegasusLife and the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA).

An application by PegasusLife to replace the building with 74 sheltered apartments and a dozen holiday homes was rejected by the NPA.

A subsequent proposal for 75 flats and 15 affordable homes was also turned down after sparking 800 objections.

New Forest Post:

Two months ago it was revealed that the site had been bought by Hoburne Development.

In a statement issued at the time the company said: “We understand the importance of the Lyndhurst Park Hotel. It’s a landmark site with historical value and, like the local community of Lyndhurst, we are sad to see it has fallen into disrepair."

People living the Lyndhurst area have spoken of their shock after learning that part of the hotel has collapsed.

New Forest Post:

One man said: "The heritage significance of the building has been confirmed by Historic England.

"Two questions now need to be answered. Why was this allowed to happen and what are the authorities doing to ensure it won't happen again?"

An NPA spokesman said: "The owners have made us aware of the situation and we understand they are now taking measures to prevent any further collapse of the building.”

The hotel was redesigned in 1912 with the help of legendary author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who lived nearby.

In 2017 it was revealed that vandals were targeting the building. Conservationists said a “priceless” stained-glass window installed in the 19th century was one of several items which had been damaged or destroyed by intruders.

But PegasusLife, which owned the building at the time, said it was doing everything it could to protect the structure.

A spokesman said: “We are in regular contact with the police and have reported all break-ins that we’ve become aware of.

“Our security company has detained people on site and passed details of people and vehicles to the police and this has resulted in at least one arrest.

“We’re taking every practicable measure to minimise opportunities for unlawful access.”