PLANNING chiefs are studying a proposal to secure the long-term future of a Hampshire pub by providing 14 holiday lets.

Hall and Woodhouse Ltd has submitted an application to convert the first and second floors of the Empress of Blandings in Romsey Road, Copythorne.

If the scheme is approved staff accommodation, a function room and other parts of the building will be turned into guest bedrooms.

Hall and Woodhouse aim to provide new staff accommodation on the site by converting a garage block.

A design and access statement that forms part of the planning application says the proposed development will enable the existing business to diversify, enhancing its longer-term viability.

It also says the scheme will support the tourist industry without generating a marked increase in activity on the site.

"The changes can be accommodated by utilising the existing footprint of the building. The diversification of the public house will generate a small increase in jobs and will therefore contribute to local employment."

The statement says the gravel parking area at the Empress of Blandings is currently under-used.

"The car park operates under capacity and therefore has available and adequate space to accommodate the additional spaces that will be required to service the demand generated by the 14 guest bedrooms."

The proposed conversion will "enhance the services available at the Empress of Blandings and improve the visitor experience".

"It will support the thriving tourism industry in the New Forest National Park and support the longer term viability of the existing hospitality business."

A letter that also accompanies the application refers to the financial impact of the pandemic.

It adds: "In the current economic climate it is considered more important than ever to support the British leisure industry and in particular existing hospitality and tourism businesses."

The scheme is outlined in a Public Notice published by the New Forest National Park Authority, which will decide the application.

Other Public Notices:

Southampton City Council is closing a ten-metre section of St Lawrence Road, beside its junction with Canute Road, from October 18 (8pm-6am) for manhole repairs. The works are due to be completed by October 20.

Southampton City Council is closing the eastbound lane of Wrights Hill between its junctions with Portsmouth Road and Weston Lane from October 25 to facilitate a water connection. The works are due to be completed by October 30.

Southampton City Council is closing Marston Road between its junctions with Spalding Road and Napier Road from October 20 (8am-4pm) for kerbing works. The works are due to be completed by October 21.

DHL Supply Chain Ltd, of Lumsdale Road, Cobra Court, Stretford, is applying for permission to keep 15 goods vehicles and four trailers at Argos, Unit 4, Reliant Close, Chandler's Ford Ind Estate.

First Cone Highways Ltd, of Unit 1 Second Avenue, Southampton, is applying for permission to keep an extra five goods vehicles at the operating centre at K&D Commercials Ltd, 64 Eling Wharf, Totton.

Suttons Tankers Ltd, of Gorsey Lane, Widnes, is applying to change an existing licence to keep an extra goods vehicle and trailer at the operating centre at MC Truck and Bus Ltd, Test Lane, Nursling.