New designs unveiled for Lymington Quay toilets revamp – with cafe and roof terrace
FRESH plans have been unveiled to replace the dilapidated toilet block on Lymington’s Town Quay with a café or wine bar, complete with roof terrace to enjoy views of the river.
New Forest District Council has published revised proposals from those first put to the public in 2019, with the budget shooting up from an original £700,000 to £1.2m after being severely delayed by the pandemic.
Talking exclusively to the A&T, Steve Cook, NFDC’s building and coastal services manager, described the new block as “an exciting building”, adding: “It is replacing one that has been there for 20 years.
“We are bringing forward a more modern-looking building that’s going to deliver what people want.”
The expense of the project has increased as building costs have gone up, he explained, as well as the addition of a café/bar along with a lift to give access to the roof.
It has come at the expense of the number of toilet cubicles which have reduced to seven, including one for disabled users, plus seven shower units.
Mr Cook said the increased price of the building will be offset by revenue to NFDC from payments from the café operator and Lymington Harbour Commissioners, whose sailing customers will use the showers.
He said the next stage would be to submit a planning application in February with building work starting in September, and hopefully finishing by spring next year.
No parking spaces will be lost as the new building is the same footprint as the old one, but slightly longer.
Mr Cook said: “There will be a glazed fronted café kiosk on the ground floor with seating. Internal stairs will lead up to a roof terrace and there will also be a lift to make access possible for all.
“The stairs are internal so that when the café is closed there is no access to the roof terrace, which was a concern of local residents.”
He said the outlet will comprise around 12 covers downstairs and 20 upstairs when Covid-19 restrictions allow. It will be offered as a commercial opportunity to rent once completed.
Mr Cook said it could operate as a café or even a wine bar, but added: “It will not have a full kitchen so it will not be a full-on restaurant.
“It could be a wine bar but that would then involve planning and licensing. If it was a wine bar, we have already discussed mitigating noise and nuisance through the opening hours.
“We believe that having this enhanced facility will draw people down the town to the quay which will also benefit other shops and food outlets in Lymington.”
Although the plans were “warmly welcomed” by civic group the Lymington Society, it said it was “very concerned” that NFDC had appeared to have focused on the toilet block and shelved original plans to completely revamp the whole quay area.
The idea in 2019 had been to cut short-stay parking bays north of the block from 30 to 18 to create more space beside the sea wall.
Don Mackenzie, the society’s deputy chair, said: “The inclusion of a café and upper viewing area will make this building a really exciting addition to the town quay and will be enjoyed by visitors and local people alike in the years ahead.”
But he said the society would also like to see plans go ahead to install seating areas and other improvements which were originally suggested, saying it would make “the area feel less like a car park and more like an exciting and welcoming place to go”.