A NEW 40-home development in the heart of Southampton has been approved, with a long-running car dealership set to be bulldozed to make way.

Comprising 31 flats and nine houses, the plans were criticised by residents who were concerned with the height of the development – which includes four-storey buildings.

But planners gave the outline proposals the green light, meaning Paynes Road Vehicles Sales and MOT centre will be flattened.

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They said the new development, which will also bulldoze several industrial units to the northwest of the site, improved a “not very well used site”.

Plans shows that the flats will be mainly two-bedroom (20 units) with three three-bed and eight one-bed also in the two complex blocks. Nine three-bed homes will also be built.

Daily Echo:

However, the approval only regards the application’s layout, size and access. Full designs of the development will have to be submitted at a later date for council consideration.

At the authority’s planning meeting, residents told of their concerns for the proposals at the site, which was the scene of a severe fire in October 2015. They included being overlooked and a detrimental visual impact on the area.

Jeremy Hayes, Paynes Road resident, said: “I’m not against revitalising the site. It’s not an attractive place as it is.

“But in this [applied-for] form, I think it is too dense and a bit greedy from the developers.

“There is also not enough car parking spaces for the amount of people that will live there.”

The applicant also applied to build, as part of the same plans, up to two light industrial units, providing 464 square metres of floorspace. They will be positioned at the back of the site, and will be separate to the housing development, with access only from Pitt Road.

A dedicated pathway to the neighbouring Freemantle Lake Park from the development will be installed.

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, agent Robin Reay, of Luken Beck MDP, said: “This is a really attractive scheme that will transform the site. The buildings on the site at the moment are of a poor quality and at the end of their lives.”

Ward councillor Dave Shield said: “I see a definite opportunity to transform this industrial area into a residential area.

“I think this is obviously a good thing.

“It is part of a change of character in the Freemantle area. But it needs to be part of a bigger plans to transform the area, rather than just another piece of a staggered jigsaw.”

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