A STORM of protest has greeted plans to build a £1.2m cafe-bar on a Hampshire quay renowned for its picturesque setting.

Objectors say the proposed development looks more like a multi-storey car park, a cable car station or a Second World War gun emplacement.

The plans have been been put forward by New Forest District Council, which has received more than 50 letters about the scheme.

Most are highly critical of the design while others say the facility will result in noise, anti-social behaviour and other issues.

Oliver Dunne, of Stanley Close, Lymington, says: "The proposal is hideous and out of keeping."

Pamela Hughes, of St Anne's Gardens, Lymington, adds: "It's a dreadful design that is set to ruin the best part of our beautiful town."

Fellow objectors describe the building as "unnecessarily brutal", "excessively overbearing” and a "ghastly carbuncle".

Stephen Hinson, of Poles Lane, Lymington, claims it looks like "the sort of thing you see at the top of a mountain cable car".

The riverside site is surrounded by listed buildings, one of which dates from 1673.

Raymond Mayes, who owns a property on the quay, says the council is missing a golden opportunity to enhance the atmosphere of the area.

His letter adds: "The existing building should be replaced with one that reflects the town's history and heritage."

But Snug Architects, employed by the council to design the scheme, describes the proposed development as a “bespoke facility that meets the needs of visiting yachtsmen”.

It argues that the complex will enhance the character of the area as well as celebrating a "unique waterfront location”.

The council's conservation officer, Lisa Crouch, adds: "On balance the proposed demolition of the existing public convenience and shower building, and its replacement, would contribute in a positive manner to the quay."

Some of the letters received by the council are full of praise for the building, which would boast a rooftop terrace.

James Bell, of Brookland Close, Pennington, says: "Most marinas/small ports have a balcony accompanied by a café or restaurant. That visitors and locals will have access to this free facility is surely a delightful prospect."

Architect John Bishop, of Quay Road, Lymington, adds: "The quay is probably the most iconic location within the New Forest district.

"The provision of new toilets, a café and an upper viewing deck will further enhance the offering for visitors to the town."