PLANS to provide a Hampshire lifeboat crew with a larger lookout station have been given the go-ahead.

The New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) has approved an application by the Lepe-based Solent Rescue, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.

The existing lookout is housed in a metal container next to a path which leads down to the beach.

Solent Rescue wants to replace it with a timber-clad container that will be longer and taller.

An NPA report says: “A container has been sited in this location for more than 20 years and the new one would not look significantly more intrusive than the existing.

“Furthermore the cladding would give the building a more appropriate finish, while still providing the necessary degree of security.

“Its prominent location is necessary as it could not perform its function from a more secluded location, but the grazed area of the site is wide and open, and it would not appear overtly large.”

The scheme, which includes a first aid post, was supported by ward councillor Alexis McEvoy.

In a letter to the NPA she said: “Solent Rescue is a highly-trained, fast response search and rescue unit with the ability to assist on land and sea.

“It has been operating entirely with volunteers for nearly 50 years. It’s a not-for-profit organisation and a vital facility on this part of the coastline.”

Cllr McEvoy said the volunteers needed an uninterrupted view of the Solent and described their current location as “ideal”.

She added: “The new unit is only slightly larger than the old lookout, is relatively unobtrusive and anaesthetically more pleasing.”

A Solent Rescue spokesman said the new “cabin” would be delivered today.

He added: “We will then start the process of cladding the outside and kitting out the insides to the required standard to provide a safe and clean clinical area as well as the lookout.

“We aiming to have the first aid post open as soon as possible.

“We need to retrain our crew on first aid in a Covid-19 environment to ensure that we are fully prepared.”