CIVIC chiefs are being urged to improve a Hampshire tourist attraction after shelving plans to give it a £700,000 upgrade.

Campaigners say Lymington Town Quay - often described as the community's "jewel in the crown" - is suffering from a "general air of neglect".

As reported in the Daily Echo plans to transform the historic quay have been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme includes proposals to bulldoze a 20-year-old toilet block and replace it with a larger, flat-roofed building with eight showers for visiting sailors.

A viewing platform on top of the new building is also planned.

But the start date has been pushed back until the autumn because of Covid-19, plus the need to avoid disruption during the busy summer months, when Lymington is full of visitors.

The scheme is being funded by New Forest District Council, Lymington and Pennington Town Council and Lymington Harbour Commissioners.

Now the Lymington Society is calling for the quay to be spruced up ahead of the 2021 tourist season.

In a statement the organisation said the area was blighted by a raft of problems, including weeds, loose paving stones and dirty pavements.

It added: "With the redevelopment not likely to be completed until 2022, the Society has urged that the quay be given some TLC by the various public authorities that look after this area of the town.

"The area needs a major spruce up for the new tourist season.

"The Society has also urged that other improvements are made to the area to create a 'cafe culture' in this ideal location which attracts so many visitors to the town."

The letter to the council has been written by the Society's deputy chairman, Don Mackenzie.

He said: "Could the Ship and other food/drink outlets not be allocated space to have tables and chairs on the pavement and maybe in the car park?

"Let us try and think creatively to make the most of this important area, which is the jewel in the crown for the tourist attractions of Lymington.

"We hope that councils can work together to help create a welcoming, attractive area for the many tourists who come to Lymington."

A council spokesperson said: "We will do an inspection of the area to identify any minor improvement works that can be undertaken through our current maintenance budgets.”