PLANS to axe a New Forest police station and transfer officers to a nearby building are set to go ahead.

Bobbies are preparing to leave Lymington police station and work from the town hall, which is already home to two local authorities and the National Park Authority (NPA).

Officers are likely to move out of their existing accommodation in the next few weeks.

It follows years of debate over the future of the police station, which has served the local community for more than half a century.

Plans to close the building and turn part of the town hall into what will be known as the New Forest West police station were approved by Hampshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, in 2018.

Speaking at the time he said the local government complex would provide modern and fit for purpose accommodation for officers and staff policing the Lymington area.

He added: "Providing effective and efficient bases for the officers and staff that serve our communities has always been one of my priorities for the role of Commissioner, and our service must respond to changing demands.

“This move will see the police even closer to the centre of Lymington, where they will continue to keep residents safer.”

Chief Inspector Robert Mitchell, head of New Forest police, added: “I am glad that the local neighbourhoods and response teams will be able to work in modern, fit-for-purpose accommodation whilst remaining in the centre of the community we serve.”

The police station, built in 1952, is regarded as outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

Writing on social media one of the officers transferring to town hall says: "My team will be moving into our shiny new office in the coming weeks and we are busy getting our stuff packed up in the old police station.

"The new office is stunning and will provide an excellent working environment for the team."

Most of the town hall will continue to be occupied by NPA staff, plus employees of New Forest District Council and Lymington and Pennington Town Council.