PLANS to redevelop land occupied by an historic Hampshire hotel have been hit by a new delay.

The New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) is still considering an application to bulldoze most of the Lyndhurst Park Hotel and transform the site.

Natural England has lodged an objection to the scheme and has advised the NPA not to approve it “at this stage”.

Planning permission is now being sought to retain the security fences surrounding the building for a further year.

Hoburne Developments’ existing consent for the fencing is about to expire but the company has submitted a proposal to keep them in place until next October.

The fences, known as hoardings, were installed after the hotel was repeatedly targeted by burglars and vandals.

Earlier this year the NPA said the application was likely to be debated at the August meeting of the planning committee but the authority has yet to make a decision. It follows an earlier delay caused by the pandemic.

Hoburne wants to build 79 apartments and three commercial units on the site. However, the company is planning to retain the hotel’s historic facade, which was redesigned by author Arthur Conan Doyle and will be converted into homes if the application is approved.

Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, lived at nearby Brook and was a frequent visitor to Lyndhurst.

Hoburne’s original plan to build 77 homes, eight holiday apartments and five shops on the site was due to have been submitted last year but the move was delayed by Covid. The company later produced a revised scheme.

In May it was revealed that the authority’s senior building design and conservation officer, Sally Knott, was backing the proposals.

She said: “The architects have responded to our advice in pre-application discussions and created a scheme which we consider will work for this important location.”

But Natural England claims a habitat regulations assessment submitted by the applicant does not provide enough information.

In a letter to the NPA Burry and Knight, part of the Hoburne Group, says the application is still undetermined, which has delayed the planned construction programme and made it necessary to retain the fencing.

The hotel closed in 2014 with the loss of around 20 jobs and has recently been described as derelict.