A PLANNING application has been submitted to change the use of a restaurant to include a bar in the heart of Southampton.

The site has been vacant for over a year and the plans include a high end cocktail lounge on the ground floor with a restaurant on the first floor.

The location of the application is 25 Oxford Street and the site is currently a Prezzo Italian Restaurant, but the name of the new restaurant and bar is not yet known.

If the planning application is given the green light, the bar will be open from 4pm to 2am from Monday to Friday. The same times will apply on Saturday and Sunday, as well as bank holidays.

It will also create at least two new jobs if accepted.

Councillor Sarah Bogle, who represents Bargate on the city council, said: "Oxford Street is a lovely place to go out in, so I am happy someone is taking it on, but the closing hours could be an issue for residents living nearby."

Councillor Darren Paffey, who represents Bargate on the city council, said: "Oxford Street is a very popular place in the city for people to come and socialise, so I will be glad to see this site back in use as it has been empty for a long time."

He added: "The proposed new restaurant and bar should be in keeping with the rest of street, and will obviously need to go through the proper planning and licensing applications, mindful of the fact that Oxford Street is also residential. In principle though, this looks like it could provide a welcome addition to the area."

Serkan Ceylan, who put forward the application, said: "We believe the new establishment will be compatible within the Oxford Street location and vision, and will add positively to its vitality and viability.

"The intention is to provide a privately owned, safe and friendly environment for the enrichment of the local community."

The decision deadline for the application has not yet been set.