A NEW multi-million-pound student flat development has taken a step closer, with the architects celebrating winning planning permission.

The Millhouse Group is set to build a new 120-bedroom block of student flats at 31 High Street in Southampton, which was once the site of a former bank in the city.

Under the plans which were submitted to Southampton City Council, there will be 120 self-contained student accommodation units which would be aimed at postgraduate students, a restaurant and a gymnasium, with parking.

The front three-storey facade of the existing Heritage Bank would be retained, with a new five-storey space being constructed to the rear.

Alongside this, Millhouse also plans to install a frameless glass viewing platform facing the High Street which will allow direct views in and out onto the high street.

The building was a branch of the Bank of England which opened in 1938. It was constructed in a facade of Portland stone with motifs by the sculptor Sir Charles Wheeler and its large bronze doors.

On Twitter Khoury Architects, who are working with the developers, said that planning permission for the scheme had been granted

In a planning statement, they added: “The site is suitable for student accommodation being in a prime city centre location with good access to both Solent University and Southampton University.

“The scale and massing of the proposed buildings have been determined by the sensitivity of their surroundings and current planning legislation.”

Ward councillor John Noon is backing the scheme. He said: “I support this application, which I believe will bring a locally listed building back to life. This application will keep all the features of the former Bank of England building both on the High Street and the rear entrance.”

Construction is expected to start later this year.