CAMPAIGNERS striving to improve one of Lymington's biggest assets have a powerful ally.

The influential Lymington Society is urging the community to support proposals to enhance the town quay, which is currently dominated by a car park and a toilet block built 20 years ago.

Options include a new £350,000 convenience with better showers for visiting sailors.

But Lymington and Pennington Town Council is calling for a more ambitious scheme comprising an attractive community space capable of hosting large-scale events.

It coincides with plans by the Lymington Harbour Commissioners to provide up to 46 walk-ashore moorings, which are expected to attract more yachtsmen to the quay and generate extra income for businesses near the waterfront.

The Lymington Society wants the town to make the most of the "unique" facility, which is popular with residents and visitors alike.

Spokesman Donald Mackenzie said: "The committee fully supports the vision of the town council, which wishes to create a new public space in the heart of our historic town.

"We encourage our members and local residents to support these proposals to rejuvenate the quay."

The society is calling for car parking on the quay to be restricted to a short-stay area for disabled people and drivers making local deliveries.

Dr Mackenzie said: "This would enable a significant part of the area to be developed with a multi-use, open public space or piazza.

"Instead of an ugly toilet building and a sea of parked cars we could have a welcoming, open promenade and public space similar to that seen at sites on the continent.

"This exciting area could be used year-round for markets and public events with a view to completely revitalising this unique riverside site.

"As with any change, there will be some who will feel unable to support this vision.

"However the Society feels strongly that the interests of the wider community need to be taken into account and that we should take this opportunity for a bold scheme that will rejuvenate the quay and make it a pleasure to visit for residents and visitors a like for years to come."

A public consultation exercise has been launched to gather opinion on the best way forward.

The land is owned by New Forest District Council (NFDC).

Cllr Alison Hoare, cabinet member for environment, said: “The NFDC toilet block is due for modernisation so we are taking the opportunity to work together with the town council and the Harbour Commission to make the most of the opportunity to look at the whole quay and consider if we could improve it.

“We are asking local residents, businesses, river users and visitors to complete a short survey on what they value and what they think could be improved."