PLANNING chiefs have approved an application that aims to prevent a Hampshire village from losing its 100-year-old shop.

Proposals to build a single-storey extension to Boldre War Memorial Hall have been given the go-ahead by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA).

The extension will provide a new home for an existing facility that needs to relocate.

The lease on Pilley's community shop and post office, about 650 metres from the hall, expires next year and is unlikely to be renewed.

Now the hall's trustees have been given planning permission to enlarge the building, move the children's play area to make way for the extension and add a further seven parking spaces.

The application resulted in five letters of support, including one from the Friends of the New Forest group.

It said: "A community shop and post office is vital for villages to remain vibrant. This relocation will maintain a successful and essential service."

One of the other supporters of the proposal said: "The shop and post office has proved to be an indispensable asset to our community for many years and especially during lockdown.

"Incorporating it within the curtilage of the Boldre War Memorial Hall is a wonderful opportunity, ensuring its continued existence.

"The plans for the new extension look attractive and very much in keeping with the existing hall."

However, the NPA also received three letters from villagers worried about the size of the new shop and the potential increase in traffic, plus the loss of green space.

A report to NPA members said the existing shop was clearly under threat.

But it added: "The scale of the replacement facility is significantly larger than that which is currently provided; this has been noted within the representations received.

"Concern was also raised that the increase in traffic would attract customers from outside the village.

"It is important to ensure the shop remains a 'small-scale convenience shop' providing essential goods, as opposed to a more general retail use not focused on the needs of the local community."

The application has been approved, subject to conditions.