IT has been a long time coming but developers finally seemed to have won support for their plans for a prime Hampshire waterfront site.

Over the past five years controversial proposals for hundreds of homes on land formerly occupied by the Webbs chicken factory have sparked a storm of protest by residents who criticised them for being “boxy” and “brutalist”.

But such terms were nowhere to be heard as the public got their first chance to take a closer look at the r e d e s i g n e d plans for the £80m landmark L y m i n g t o n Shores project, the biggest development in the New Forest town for 60 years.

Some concerns were raised about possible traffic congestion with such an influx of people to the area and others were u n s u r e about the hefty price tags, but on the whole the scheme was seen as a wel - come boost to the town.

Stanwell House Hotel hosted a two-day exhibition where people got the chance to scrutinise the new plans by Redrow, which had been forced back to the drawing board after protests following a public exhibition of the initial 288- home development.

After listening to concerns, they have come back with their final plan for 168 units including one, two and three-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom duplexes, four and five-becroom detached villas, 26 affordable housing and five “live/work” units, a restaurant, a shop and a public square.

There would also be a riverside walkway, green spaces and a pedestrian bridge over the railway line.

Proposals for the homes to have flat roofs, which met with criticism, have been shelved in favour of mostly pitched roofs.

Aimed more for those looking to downsize and find the perfect place for retirement, prices range from £350,000 for a two-bedroom duplex up to £1.9m for a five-bedroom house with roof terrace.

Tonia Tyler, from Redrow, said: “The reaction we have had has been very positive and we have been delighted with the number of people coming in and wanting to know more.

“This is a totally unique development to Lymington and it is making an area, which is currently unused, into a beautiful place to live.

“But this project is not just about the people who will live here, it is about the wider community and getting them to enjoy the development in the years to come.”

Redrow bought the site in 2007 for more than £25m from Paxton Holdings Ltd. Webbs chicken factory closed in 2001.

Building work has already started on the three-year project and the first residents will be moving in by the end of this year.

Dr Donald Mackenzie, from the Lymington Society, told the Daily Echo that the society was very much in favour of the new plans, which in their view are a “huge improvement”

on previous proposals.

He said: “We are aware that it will be quite a bit higher than we would like it to be.

But we hope that people will get used to it over time.

“Something had to be done to the site. It is an exciting, innovative development.”