PLANS to give Lymington Town Quay a £700,000 revamp have been delayed for a year by the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme includes proposals to bulldoze a 20-year-old toilet block and replace it with a larger, flat-roofed building with eight showers for visiting sailors using the new pontoons.

Work was due to have begun by now, with a potential completion date of spring next year.

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But the start date has been pushed back until next autumn because of Covid-19 and the need to avoid disruption during the busy summer months, when Lymington is full of sailors and tourists.

Supporters of the scheme claim the delay could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

With social distancing in mind they say it will enable people involved in the project to review the design and make any necessary changes before construction work starts.

New Forest District Council is funding the scheme with the aid of contributions from Lymington Harbour Commissioners and Lymington and Pennington Town Council.

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Proposals include extra public space near the sea wall and a viewing platform on top of the proposed new building.

A district council spokesperson said: "We are already starting to meet with partners and consider the options, budgets, and Covid implications on the refurbishment project.

"As part of this, a revised timescale will be worked out.

"The timetable will depend on the agreed plans but we are aiming to start in September 2021 as we do not want works happening during the summer.

"It is too early to give detail, but Covid-secure requirements will of course be considered. We are not anticipating a change in location or a significant change in the footprint of the building."

A survey published at the beginning of the year showed that 81% of those who took part said the building should have a flat roof.

Speaking at the time Alison Hoare, the district council's cabinet member for environment and regulatory services said: “It is clear we now have a project that the community would like to see built.

"They have also made it clear that in this special location it needs to be of a quality and standard that is appropriate. Our task with our partners is now to develop a project that both meets these objectives and is affordable.”

Paul Bulkeley, of Snug Architects, added: "The consultation has identified clear support for an inhabited flat roof.

"We will now be working up a more detailed proposal that seeks to balance the community’s wider priorities and concerns.

"This is an exciting opportunity to create a building the whole community can be proud of.”