PLANS for a £70m village for more than 1,000 students in Southampton city centre have been praised by residents.

Developers, in partnership with the University of Southampton, want to build three blocks of student flats up to 15 storeys high at the boarded-up Mayflower Plaza site off Commercial Road.

However, a similar 15-storey block in Swaythling has been slammed by residents amid fears of parking chaos.

The £20m 'Gateway Scheme', developed by the UK arm of French construction giant Bouygues, will provide accommodation for 348 students.

There are fears that the students bring hundreds more cars into the city.

But the proposed Mayflower Plaza site has been welcomed by residents who said the development would bring jobs, money and life to the area.

Andrew Mackean, 55, a solicitor from Southampton, said: “The site has been empty for many years so it’s great to see something finally happening on it. It will help bring people to the shops and business in the area, as well as the art gallery and other sites around the city.”

The student village, complete with a gym, small supermarket, 400 cycle racks and basement parking, would face the council’s Civic Centre and new £15m SeaCity Museum.

Plans for an £80m development of 180 apartments, a seven-storey office block and hotel called Mayflower Point were given the go-ahead by councillors nearly four years ago.

A failure to find office tenants has left it on the drawing board.

Osborne Developments and landowner Terrace Hill will launch a planning application in the spring.

The V-shaped site – bounded by Havelock Road, Commercial Road and West Park Road – stood empty since the 1980s and was demolished in 2003.

Terrace Hill bought it for £7.4m in 2007.