A SECTION of the landmark Lyndhurst Park Hotel has collapsed, sparking fears for the future of the historic building.
A huge chunk of one of the back walls has dropped into the fenced off area which, the A&T understands, happened a few days into the new year.
The site on the edge of Lyndhurst has fallen into disrepair and become an eyesore since it was shut down in 2014.
It was bought by retirement developer Pegasus Life, which twice failed to gain permission for about 90 homes there.
In October last year it gave up and sold the ailing property to Hoburne Development, the construction arm of Hoburne Group, which also owns a holiday park business. It is drawing up plans for a housing scheme there.
A villager, who saw the collapsed section of the building, told the A&T: “It was one of the middle blocks. It’s basically the entire block from ground to ceiling.
Asking to remain anonymous, he said: “When it was bought by Pegasus Life it was a functioning hotel – it was working. This has happened under their watch.”
He was concerned that the growing instability of the structure, despite repeated warnings to fix problems, might be used to justify demolishing more of it in any future development plans.
A spokesperson for Hoburne Development said: “We are aware that a small part of the structure has collapsed despite us taking measures to preserve the hotel.”
The damage appears to have been done to a late 19th century extension which is not part of the original Georgian structure, Glasshayes House, dating back to about 1810.
The A&T has asked Hoburne to comment.
Steve Avery, the national park authority’s executive director of strategy and planning, said: “The owners of the Lyndhurst Park Hotel site have made us aware of the situation and we understand that they are now taking measures to prevent any further collapse of the building.”
The NPA’s newly adopted Local Plan, which sets out its planning policies, includes the retention of the building’s historic elements. Parts of it are believed to have been designed by Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The NPA has earmarked the site for 50 homes plus tourism uses and set an affordable housing target of 50%.