CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish a row of century-old shops in a Hampshire village are likely to be given the go-ahead later this month.

Members of the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) are being recommended to approve an application to replace the timber-framed shops at Lyndhurst Road, Brockenhurst.

Farooq Ahmed has applied for planning permission to replace the buildings with a cafe and holiday lets.

The Brockenhurst Conservation Area Character Appraisal says the structures are a rare example of small shops built in the early part of the last century and should be preserved.

Brockenhurst Parish Council is urging the NPA to reject Mr Ahmed's application, which has also sparked 23 letters of objection from locals.

But the proposal looks set to be approved by the NPA's planning committee on August 18.

A report to members says: "The application relates to four modest shop units which are prominently sited within the Brockenhurst Conservation Area.

"The quirky design of the shops contributes to the character of the village.

"Until only a few years ago these shops were in use. They were an attractive row animating the street scene as a group of antique shops until around 2014."

But the report says the condition of the shops has deteriorated over a long period of time.

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It adds: "It has been established that much of the original historic fabric of the existing buildings has been lost and that this has largely been attributed to a series of ongoing poor quality repairs rather than deliberate neglect.

"The retention of these buildings would be unviable as it would necessitate the wholesale replacement of a large proportion of the existing structure.

"The proposed building would, subject to appropriate landscaping, not have a harmful impact upon the

character and appearance of the conservation area.

The proposal to incorporate a commercial use on the ground floor would ensure the vibrancy and mix of uses along this part of the Lyndhurst Road would be retained.

The proposed visitor accommodation would be low key and incidental to the main restaurant use."