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South Lawn Hotel in Milford-on-Sea given permission for two-storey extension

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A MILFORD hotel will double its room capacity after owners were given permission for a two-storey extension which the owners say will “cement” its future.

The 26-bed South Lawn Hotel in Lymington Road will add a two-storey, barn-style extension to the rear with an additional 24 rooms.

Owner Tim Wedgwood said the expansion, within the protected green belt, would “put Milford on the map” and secure the hotel’s survival.

South Lawn Hotel
South Lawn Hotel

“It’s been a difficult 18 months,” he told the A&T. “And although we have done very well in dealing with the challenge, this permission will cement our future.

“With 50 bedrooms and the largest function room attached to any hotel in the area, we will certainly be putting Milford on the map.”

New Forest District Council’s planning committe heard the scheme had replaced a previous plan, approved in 2019, for a roof extension with 18 extra rooms.

Planning officer James Gilfillan told members that project had been shelved by applicants SL Hotels Ltd because construction would prove complex and costly.

Planning agent Richard Greenwood said the extra space was “much-needed” and would generate income for Milford.

“This is a sustainable way to add to the attraction of the village,” he said. “It will contribute to the economic, social and environmental fabric of the area.”

Councillors were supportive, acknowledging the popularity of the hotel and praising the “sympathetic” design – although some pointed to its “contrasting character” to the main mock-Tudor building.

Cllr Anne Corbridge argued that considering the area was so loved by tourists, there was a relative lack of hotels, adding: “For this reason I’m 100% behind this.”

Extensions proposals for South Lawn Hotel, highlighted in blue
Extensions proposals for South Lawn Hotel, highlighted in blue

Cllr Sue Bennison said the extension at the rear would would not detract from the “nice picture you are looking at now”.

She added: “Businesses have got to expand. They have got to be able to make more money, so this has to be done.”

Cllr Malcolm Wade said many businesses were having to increase their footprint to “claw back losses” from the pandemic.

“As much as we want to protect the environment, we must help businesses so I will be supporting this,” he said.

Recommending approval of the proposed scheme, which includes an additional 48 parking spaces, Mr Gilfillan said the applicant had demonstrated the “very special circumstances” needed to build on green belt land.

“The development brings economic benefits, delivers employment and attracts people to the area who then consequently spend money,” he said.

“These matters constitute very special circumstances that outweigh harm to the openness of the green belt.”

All 13 committee members voted in favour of the extension.

Mr Wedgewood said work at the hotel would start in the autumn, with completion in late spring.

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