A PLAN to double the number of students living in a leafy city suburb has won approval. The University of Southampton will now demolish the 19th century Bassett House, pictured, and the aging post war Chamberlain House in Glen Eyre to boost student homes. The replacement accommodation blocks would house more than 400 students – up from the current 200.

University bosses hope this will not only provide modern digs but also curb student ghettos that plague neighbourhoods such as Portswood and Swaythling.

Agent Mark Lucken said: “This scheme will deliver accommodation for a large number of students currently living in family housing.” Chamberlain House, which was built in 1958, will be redeveloped into more than 40 flats offering 356 beds in three four-storey buildings. Neighbouring Bassett House will be levelled for eight cluster flats with 64 bed spaces. It is hoped the new homes would be open in time for the 2014 academic year.

Planners heard concerns from neighbours about traffic and noisy students but also at the removal of the historic Bassett House, once part of the Bassett Estate and the last of its kind in the city. Previous bids to have it listed failed. Peter Davis, of Chetwynd Drive, said: “Most of the residents strongly disagree with demolishing the building. It would be such a great shame if it was lost. The existing character of the street scene would be destroyed.”

Concerns were also expressed about the size of four-storey flats on the Chamberlain House site. But planning committee members backed the plan, chiefly because it offered more accommodation for students just as the city council was cracking down on new homes of multiple occupancy (HMOs). Cllr Linda Norris said: “I spend an awful lot of time fighting HMOs and this could save 30 to 40 in our area.”