A SEAFRONT cafe that provides panoramic views of the Solent has won a top award.

The Lookout at Lepe has received one of the 2021 Civic Trust Awards, with judges saying it provides a "beautiful, harmonious connection between land and sea”.

The awards are given to projects that make an outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of the built environment.

As reported in the Daily Echo, The Lookout at Lepe has been built on top of concrete columns to protect it from rising sea levels and tidal storm surges.

In 2014 the previous facility on the site suffered £100,000 of damage after it was flooded by a ferocious storm that struck the south coast.

Plans for a new cafe and visitor centre were approved by the New Forest National Park Authority two years later.

The glass-fronted complex is currently closed as a result of coronavirus restrictions but is offering a takeaway service from a kiosk.

The leader of the county council, Keith Mans, said the authority had an impressive record of designing top quality community buildings that boasted high environmental and efficiency standards.

Cllr Mans described The Lookout at Lepe as a "perfect blend of form and function".

He added: "It has quickly become a firm favourite with customers who are treated to a panoramic view of the Solent whilst enjoying a drink or a bite to eat in this beachside gem.

"It is fantastic to see it winning a prestigious national accolade from the Civic Trust."

Designed by Hampshire County Council Property Services, The Lookout at Lepe opened in the summer of 2018, replacing what the council described as an old and outdated visitor centre.

The building is part of the 120-acre Lepe Country Park, which is owned by the county council and was recently given a £2.9m makeover.

Lepe played a major role during the build-up to the D-Day landings and evidence of its contribution to the invasion can still be seen.

The beach was used to build some of the huge concrete caissons that were towed across the Channel to form the famous Mulberry Harbour, which helped keep the troops supplied.