PLANS for a huge student flat complex in Southampton with towers up to 20 storeys high are set to be scaled back.

Last year French firm Bouygues Development won permission to build two towers containing 686 bedrooms in St Mary’s Road.

But the developer says the original proposals are now “unviable”, and wants to reduce the number of bedrooms by more than 200.

The blueprint approved by city councillors last year contained two towers, one 20 storeys high and the other 14, and 581sq m of commercial space and community facilities.

Community figures in St Mary’s had voiced concerns over the height of the original buildings, saying the huge tower would overshadow the area, while the influx of students would lead to parking and overcrowding issues.

More than a year on, Bouygues Development has returned with a fresh planning application.

The new building would now be a maximum of 14 storeys in height, while other parts of the building will be up to four storeys high.

It would house 467 students in clusters of four, five and six-bedroom flats, studio apartments and six and eigtht-bed townhouses.

There would also be 288sq m commercial and community space.

Nicolas Guérin, managing director of Bouygues Development said: “The total number of beds is a reduction on that which was originally proposed due to the changing demand in the student accommodation market.

“We look forward to progressing the development and delivering the scheme for the start of the academic year in September 2016.”

City council planners are due to make a decision on the revised plans by September 2.

Mohammed Khan, secretary at the Abu Bakr Masjid in nearby Argyle Road, led opposition to the original plans.

Welcoming the revised application, he said: “This might be good news – 200 less students is certainly a good thing.

“It’s not a huge improvement but it does help – there will be less of an issue with parking and people messing around on the streets.”