£1.2m 'wartime bunker' Lymington Quay toilet revamp flushed away by New Forest District Council
A £1.2m revamp of the Lymington Quay toilets has been flushed away by New Forest District Council following claims its design looked like a "wartime bunker".
NFDC said it decided to postpone the project following public consultation comments and an "anticipated significant rise" in construction costs.
Cllr Edward Heron, NFDC leader, said "Of course we are disappointed it has come to this but it’s important to us we get this right.
"We have listened, and it is absolutely the right thing to do to withdraw this project, especially as estimated project costs have increased by 25%.
"We are now talking with our partners so that a prudent approach can be planned for any future improvements to the area."
The project was to replace the existing conveniences with a timber-clad building containing new toilets and showers, a café or wine bar, and a roof terrace.
But many locals questioned how the design, by Snug Architects, fit with the town’s Georgian aesthetic.
The plans on NFDC's website had so far attracted 225 comments against and only 13 for, while an opposition petition attracted 230 signatures.
It led to calls for NFDC to amend the design – which the council resisted.
Cllr Heron went on: "Many of the excellent elements developed by Snug Architects were well received by people, but we are not willing to ignore the number of negative comments this proposal received.
"Nor can we accept the increased risk of escalating costs as a result of the widespread cost inflation of construction materials."
NFDC said it intends to consider the future use of the town centre as part of its Local Plan Part 2 work, which includes a focus on access, local design and local distinctiveness for a wider area of Lymington.
That is in line with the approach being developed in other New Forest towns and the authority review the need for local facilities and their location and will engage and work with the local community and local partners.
In the meantime, NFDC will carry out a basic interior refurbishment of the existing shower and toilet facilities at the quay to tidy them up in time for next summer, subject to a suitable condition survey.
Cllr Heron, added: "The plans developed by Snug Architects were innovative, and closely followed a difficult brief for the area, and we are grateful for their work on this challenging project."