WORK has started on a multi-million-pound scheme to transform a town centre site which was previously occupied by a busy transport hub.

Buildings at the old Lymington bus station are being demolished to make way for a new complex comprising nine homes, plus offices and a shop.

An application submitted by Landford Estates was given the go-ahead by New Forest District Council last summer.

A Landford Estates spokesman said groundworks were due to begin by the end of this month but added: "We are constantly reviewing our programme in view of the current circumstances."

New Forest Post:

Landford Estates bought the site from Go Ahead Group - parent company of local operator MoreBus - in 2018.

Now the company is forging ahead with plans for a mews-style development featuring two rows of terraced houses lining a cobbled lane. A new building beside the entrance to the site will house a shop and offices.

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.

Two £10m proposals submitted by the company were rejected by the district council. Renaissance lodged appeals but both were dismissed following a public inquiry in 2017.

One of the 50 objections to the first application was made by the council's own conservation team, which said the scheme would harm the Lymington Conservation Area.

New Forest Post:

Town councillors supported the Landford scheme, which was approved by district planning officers under delegated powers.

Their report said: “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 support the application came 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” application coming forward in its place.