Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Lyndhurst 'Conan Doyle' hotel plans revealed

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

A former hotel with links to Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could be partially restored, under new plans by a developer.

The Lyndhurst Park Hotel was sold last year after its then-owner failed to win approval to demolish it to build retirement flats.

New owner Hoburne Development has released plans for 77 houses and flats, along with eight holiday homes.

Heritage campaigner Brice Stratford said the designs were "positive".

The building was originally a private mansion - Glasshayes House - built in the early 19th Century but has been disused since the hotel closed in 2014.

Campaigners had called for the building to be protected after sketches of it by Conan Doyle dating back to 1912 emerged.

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

Plans by the building's previous owner PegasusLife to build retirement flats were twice rejected by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA), which said the development would not "cater for local needs".

Hoburne Development's proposes building 77 homes, higher than the NPA's recommendation of about 50 dwellings.

It said any affordable housing would be "guided by viability considerations".

In its proposal, it said: "We are looking at the opportunity to retain the historic façade of the building and reintroduce some of the lost detailing.

"This would better reveal the value of the building as a heritage asset and the features referenced in Arthur Conan Doyle's sketches."

Historian Brice Stratford who unearthed the sketches said there was still a "genuine danger" of the oldest parts of the building decaying and they should be restored and stabilised before building work started on the site.

"Its a starting point which reflects the heritage and architecture of the village and has the potential to be a really good addition to the community," he said.

The plans are going on public display at an event at Lyndhurst Community Centre.

Image copyright Hoburne Development
Image caption Hoburne Development proposes building homes and holiday units on the site on the edge of Lyndhurst.

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