HIS numerous attempts to build a luxury home on the Hampshire coast have led conservationists to describe him as a “debilitating nuisance”.

Billionaire businessman Jim Ratcliffe has spent six years trying to persuade the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) to allow him to redevelop a secluded site overlooking the Solent.

The internationally-renowned entrepreneur has suffered a series of setbacks, with one application after another being rejected on environmental grounds.

But Mr Ratcliffe’s never-say-die approach has finally paid off.

The NPA has approved his fifth application to bulldoze a corrugated iron bungalow and replace it with a landmark mansion that will boast stunning views of the Isle of Wight.

His latest proposal to transform the two-hectare site at Thorns Beach, near Beaulieu, was submitted earlier this year.

It was subsequently amended, reducing the size of the development, and has now been approved by NPA officers without being referred to the authority’s planning committee.

Unlike the other four applications the latest scheme sparked only a handful of objections.

The protests were outnumbered by 11 letters of support including one from Beaulieu Parish Council and another from Mary Montagu Scott, sister of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and a fierce critic of Mr Ratcliffe’s earlier plans.

Mrs Montagu-Scott said the latest scheme would result in a “good-looking, modern house”.

A report prepared by NPA officers added: “The proposal, which follows several other applications that have either been withdrawn, or refused and subsequently dismissed at appeal, is for a replacement dwelling, several outbuildings and associated landscaping.

“Unlike the previous applications, this one has been designed to accord with (planning) policies.

“The application has been the subject of a number of meetings to determine the level of floorspace and amended plans were submitted reducing the scale of the development.”

The scheme had been opposed by Friends of the New Forest, formerly the New Forest Association, who described Mr Ratcliffe’s persistence as a “debilitating nuisance”.

He has fought a long-running battle with the NPA over his determination to redevelop the seafront site, which he has owned for several years.

His first application was withdrawn after sparking a large number of objections and the second was rejected by the NPA. Mr Ratcliffe went back to the drawing board but his third proposal was refused in 2014 and a similar scheme was turned down the following year.

He appealed against the 2014 and 2015 decisions – but both rulings were upheld by government-appointed planning inspector Jennifer Tempest.