CIVIC chiefs have rejected calls to make major changes to a proposed cafe-bar complex planned for an historic Hampshire quay.

Objectors claim the proposed development looks more like a multi-storey car park, a cable car station or a Second World War gun emplacement.

But the applicant, New Forest District Council, wants the riverside facility to open in time for the 2022 tourist season.

The £1.2m project is already behind schedule as a result of the Covid crisis and the authority is anxious to avoid any additional delays.

In a statement it said: "It will not be possible to implement major design changes without impacting on what is already a challenging project.

"Further delays could result in a detrimental impact on the construction programme with the likelihood of construction continuing beyond April 2022, with the resultant effect on the local economy, or being delayed by a further year."

The council wants to replace the existing toilets with a timber-clad building boasting new toilets and showers, a café or wine bar and a roof terrace.

Planning officers have received more than 40 objections to the application.

But the council's statement said: "The project seeks to achieve a high level of environmental performance. The use of timber cladding is intended to help reduce embodied carbon, as well as evoking memories of the historic wharf buildings on the site.

"The raised parapet integrates both the public access deck and the buildings servicing requirements whilst also screening roof-mounted solar heating from public view."

The Lymington Society said it welcomed the latest announcements made by the council.

"Whilst they won’t be making any major changes to their designs they are willing to consider reducing the height of the rather dominating parapet and are willing to consider how issues raised in the planning process could be addressed in the detailed design stage," it said.

"The Society has not called for major design changes and supports the need to get the building completed in time for the 2022 tourist season.

"The Society really hopes the council are genuinely willing to consider changes at the detailed design stage that will make the building more acceptable to the public, who have expressed concerns about the appearance of the proposed building.

"We would support the building being given planning permission subject to conditions being attached to try and make the building’s appearance more acceptable."