A CONSERVATION watchdog group is urging civic chiefs to think again over plans for a £1.2m cafe-bar on a Hampshire quay.

The Lymington Society has criticised the design of the proposed development, saying it is out of keeping with town's historic waterfront and needs "major changes".

New Forest District Council is planning to demolish a toilet block on the quay and replace it with a raft of new facilities.

As reported in the Daily Echo objectors claim the cafe-bar looks more like a multi-storey car park, a cable car station or a Second World War gun emplacement.

In a statement the Society said it supported plans to replace what it described as the "inadequate and out of date" block that currently occupies the site.

It added: "The Society welcomes the inclusion of the riverside cafe/bar and first floor viewing area, which will bring a spot of excitement and glamour to the visitor experience on the Town Quay, as have similar successful cafes in other seaside locations."

But the Society said the design should be altered to ensure the building "fits more closely" with the historic Town Quay area.

The group's deputy chairman, Don Mackenzie, told the Daily Echo: "It is clear from the many comments received by the Society from its members, and from comments online, that the current design is not popular.

"The Society shares many of these concerns.

"The heavy parapet that dominates the upper parts of the building gives it a heavy and dominating feeling, especially at the front. More glass to allow a better view of the harbour would be preferable.

"The Society does not feel a more modern design is out of the question.

"Given the need to accommodate the necessary WCs and shower cubicles, it is hard to see how the building can be made to look Georgian or period.

"We therefore support the overall outline of the building as proposed, subject to changes to make it blend in better.

"Hopefully these changes can be implemented by conditions being imposed on the current application rather than by a refusal, which would cause further delay in bringing forward investment in these much-needed facilities."