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Lymington Society calls for changes to 'unpopular' town quay revamp

THERE have been mounting calls for design changes to be made to the £1.2m revamp of toilets on Lymington's Town Quay.

New Forest District Council's proposals are to tear down the block off Quay Road to replace it with new toilets and showers, complete with a café or wine bar and roof terrace to enjoy views of the river.

But civic group the Lymington Society is the latest to urge NFDC to alter the plans, which have attracted more than 40 letters of objection and been likened by some to a wartime bunker or housing for a nuclear reactor. One local architect has even been moved to draw up an alternative vision.

An artist's impression of the current design for the scheme by Snug Architects
An artist's impression of the current design for the scheme by Snug Architects

Society spokesperson Donald Mackenzie said the suggested timber cladding on the outside of the building and "heavy parapet" of the proposed building should be changed as they did not blend in with the town’s Georgian aesthetic.

"It is clear from the many comments received by the society from its members and from comments online, the current design is not popular," Mr Mackenzie said.

"The society shares many of these concerns and in particular we feel the proposed wooden cladding will look out of place in area where traditionally brick has been the main building material."

He stressed the society accepted the "out of date and inadequate old block" needed replacing and had no desire to delay the project any longer, which has already suffered more than a year of delay.

It also backed the idea of including a café/bar as the revamp will "bring a spot of excitement and glamour to the visitor experience".

But Mr mackenzie added: "The society does, however, not feel that a more modern design is out of the question and 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.

Retired Lymington architect James Bull has come up with his own design
Retired Lymington architect James Bull has come up with his own design

"An earlier version of these plans was the preferred option in a major consultation carried out by the NFDC in January 2020 compared with a more traditional design with a pitched roof.

"We therefore support the overall outline of the building as proposed, subject to changes to make it blend in better – maybe as indicated by use of more brick and by breaking up the heavy parapet with glass – especially at the front of the building."

He concluded: "Hopefully, these changes can be implemented by conditions being imposed on the current application rather than by a refusal which would cause yet further delay in bring forward invest-ment in these much-needed facilities."

The proposals is currently being considered by NFDC's own planning department. A decision is scheduled by the end of April.

Also opposed to the current design is retired Lymington architect James Bull, who has independently produced his own blueprint.

He is opposed to timber cladding, preferring brick, wants multi-pitched shallow slate roofs over the toilets which will screen the heat exchanger and better incorporate the solar panels as a feature. He has also added a glass balustrade facing the water on the balcony.

Describing Town Quay as Lymington's "jewel in the crown", Mr Bull said: "Time is of the essence as this project should be ready for next year’s sailing season. If any changes are to be made and submitted for planning, there is time now for them to be made with-out creating undue delay."

The A&T asked NFDC for comment.

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