PLANS to turn a former church into a restaurant have fallen through.

Owners of the old Methodist church in Gosport Street, Lymington, are now planning to convert the landmark building into three homes.

A planning application was approved at a meeting of the district council.

Jerry Davies, representing the applicant, said: “No genuine interest has been shown by any restaurant operator and residential use of the church now seems the only way forward.

“The scheme would have less impact on the surrounding area than a restaurant.”

Lymington councillor Elizabeth Lewis said: “I think it’s about time something was done with this building – it’s been standing there empty for far too long.

“The restaurant scheme was very unpopular locally, largely as a result of traffic concerns.”

Cllr Maureen Holding also supported the application.

She said: “The owners have tried very hard to pursue the restaurant plan but it just hasn’t worked. The housing scheme will fit in with the properties round about.”