Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Lyndhurst 'Conan Doyle' hotel planning appeal withdrawn

Lyndhurst Park Hotel Image copyright Hugh Venables
Image caption The former hotel building has been unused since 2014

A developer hoping to demolish a former hotel with links to Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has withdrawn its planning appeal.

PegasusLife had fought for years to win approval to build more than 70 retirement flats on the site of the Lyndhurst Park Hotel in Hampshire.

A public inquiry due to start on 29 January has been cancelled.

New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) said no reason for the withdrawal had been given.

New Forest historian Brice Stratford said Conan Doyle, who never worked in architecture but had a hand in designing elements of several buildings, sketched plans for a new facade and a third-floor extension to the hotel in 1912.

Image copyright Brice Stratford
Image caption Archive drawings appear to show plans for the building which became a hotel in the 1920s

Plans for 75 retirement flats and 15 affordable homes were rejected by the authority in December 2017, which said the development would not "cater for local needs".

The NPA said it would look to recoup costs spent on planning for the public inquiry from the developers.

Steve Avery, executive director of planning at NPA, said: "No reasons have been given as to why PegasusLife decided to withdraw its appeal at such a late stage.

"This has obviously incurred a lot of unnecessary time and expense for the authority in preparing for a significant public inquiry which PegasusLife asked for and was due to open in only a few weeks."

Image copyright PegasusLife
Image caption The initial development plan would have seen 74 homes for elderly people as well as 12 holiday lets

Mr Avery added it was unclear what the developer intended to do with the site.

PegasusLife added 15 "affordable homes" to the plans after initial proposals were rejected.

More than 850 objections were received, many calling for affordable housing for younger people.

PegasusLife had maintained the development was "a sensitively designed scheme that enhances the character" of the area.

The BBC has approached PegasusLife for comment.

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