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NFDC rejects redesign call for Lymington Town Quay revamp

CALLS have been rejected for a major redesign of the £1.2m revamp of toilets on Lymington’s Town Quay.

Wholesale changes would delay the project beyond the 2022 summer seasonal, New Forest District Council said, although small amendments may be considered.

It defended the "refined" design that had been developed through public consultation and stressed it needed a working building that was visually acceptable.

The design by Snug Architects has been likened by some to a wartime bunker
The design by Snug Architects has been likened by some to a wartime bunker

As reported in the A&T, there has been criticism of the architecture which last week led to civic group the Lymington Society publicly asking for changes.

But NFDC has rejected those demands, saying in a statement: "It is recognised that it will not be possible to implement major design changes without impacting on what is already a challenging project to be delivered in the required timescale i.e. readiness for the 2022 season.

"Further delays could result in a detrimental impact on the building construction programme with the likelihood of construction continuing beyond April 2022 with the resultant effect on the local economy or significantly being delayed by a further year."

The project is to replace the existing conveniences with a timber-clad building containing new toilets and showers, a café or wine bar, and a roof terrace.

There have been more than 40 objections to NFDC's plan, with some questioning whether the building fits in with the town’s Georgian aesthetic, and likening it to a wartime bunker.

But the council's statement added: "The project seeks to achieve a high level of environmental performance. The use of timber cladding is intended to help reduce embodied carbon, as well as evoking memories of the historic wharf buildings on the site.

"The raised parapet integrates both the public access deck and the buildings servicing requirements whilst also screening roof mounted solar heating from public view."

Last week Lymington Society spokesperson Donald Mackenzie said it was clear the current design was "not popular".

He called for brickwork to replace the timber cladding and more glass instead of the "heavy parapet" at the front of the building.

In its response, NFDC said it recognised the project "was always going to be a challenge, given its special location and the varied expectations of the local community".

It highlighted its engagement with the community, including a "major consultation exercise” with various options offered, a public survey, residents' meetings and public exhibition.

"The outputs of these engagement activities were used to support the design, such as through material selection, upper terrace and roof form," it noted.

Referencing the parapet, NFDC said the primary material of the building will be a pre-weathered hardwood timber cladding and "not mass concrete, as may have been suggested".

NFDC added: "The building has to be both visibly acceptable as well as being a working building.

"Mechanical and electrical equipment is required to be accommodated for the operation of the building.

"Further refinements can be considered during the detailed design of the building giving further consideration to the aspect of the depth of the parapet, without compromising the building function.

"The detailed design work will also provide the opportunity to consider other issues raised through the planning process and how they could possibly be addressed."

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