A MULTIMILLION pound project to increase the size of the one of New Milton’s prime stores and create 30 new jobs has the backing of customers.

Smith Bradbeers, which has its roots in Southampton in 1837, has been trading in New Milton’s Station Road since late 1940 after its Southampton store was bombed by the Luftwaffe.

The building was extended in 1969 with an additional storey and the purchase of adjoining shops.

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The latest project involves a major refurbishment and increasing the floor space from 22,000 square feet to 30,000 sq ft.

The latest plans show two-storey sections at the southern and northern ends of the shop will be demolished and replaced with three-storey buildings, while the existing central three-storey section will be clad with terracotta panelling.

There will be new loos and lifts, a street level café and a rooftop restaurant.

Following a public consultation exercise, director Rupert Davies said: “It went very well. It was very well received.”

He said in the region of 300 people took the trouble to fill in a questionnaire.

“There was one person who didn’t like it out of that many. Quite a lot of people wanted to keep waitress service and people loved the rooftop restaurant idea,” he said.

The planning application will be submitted to New Forest District Council in early December.