A LANDMARK hotel is at the centre of a new row after a huge fence was erected around the historic building without planning permission.

PegasusLife has installed the tall wooden hoarding at the Lyndhurst Park Hotel without waiting for the application to be debated by the National Park Authority (NPA).

And a report to members says the fence is “much higher” than the 2.6m structure for which consent is being sought.

Steve Avery, the NPA’s executive director strategy and planning, said: “This is a flagrant abuse of the planning process and we share the concerns of residents.”

But PegasusLife has defended its actions, which follow several incidents in which the hotel has been damaged by thieves and vandals.

A company spokesman said: “As a business we have a duty to ensure the building is secure so that individuals, both nearby residents and those that illegally enter the site, do not harm themselves.

“A number of break-ins have led us to believe further steps need to be taken.”

As reported in the Daily Echo, the original building was redesigned with the help of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The legendary author, creator of Sherlock Holmes, lived at nearby Brook and was a frequent visitor.

The 59-room hotel, which closed in 2014, has been at the centre of a long-running row between PegasusLife and the NPA.

The developer wants to demolish the building and redevelop the site.

Its application to build 74 apartments and a dozen holiday homes was rejected by the NPA. A subsequent proposal for 75 flats and 15 affordable homes was also thrown out after sparking more than 800 objections.

An appeal sparked by the rejection of the second proposal will be heard at a public inquiry in Lyndhurst early next year.

The fence, which encircles the building, blocking views of the ground floor, is due to be debated by the NPA’s planning committee next Tuesday.