WINCHESTER civic chiefs have signed an agreement that could finally see one of its buildings leased after standing empty for five years.

Avalon House, on Chesil Street, is the former city council planning office and became something of an albatross after it was vacated in 2007.

But council bosses have announced the signing of an agreement with Southern Health Trust Foundation that could see the new occupants moving in by the autumn.

The deal remains subject to planning permission.

Southern Health Trust Foundation is yet to decide exactly which services will be relocating to Avalon House, but a spokesman for the trust, which provides community health services such as district nurses, said the new site would act as a main hub for the foundation.

The spokesman added that Avalon House has 59 parking spaces and the trust will also explore ways of maximising usage of Winchester park and ride.