IMAGES have been released showing how a £10 million block of student flats could kickstart regeneration around a Hampshire railway station.

This five-and-six storey block could house up to 280 Winchester University students at the heart of one of the city’s key development sites.

Outline plans, are expected to change and could be downsized, according to David Sarson, a director at developer Osborne.

Concerns were raised about the height of the development at a public consultation earlier this month.

The scheme is separate to Winchester City Council’s Station Approach development, which is expected to create office space, parking and homes, improving frontages and public transport access.

But business leaders hope placing up to 280 students in halls away from their Sparkford Road campus could boost trade for cafes, convenience stores and bars.

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Osborne says it would bring employment back to the disused Hunt’s Foodservice site. Six people would be employed directly with 10 jobs earmarked for building maintenance.

The wider Station Approach scheme will create high-end jobs, the city council says, easing Winchester’s reliance on tourism and stemming the flow of commuters out of the city.

A statement on the council website, looking to “remove misconceptions” about the controversial project, said: “Developing Station Approach will transform an area with the potential to be improved into an attractive and welcoming gateway to the city for residents, visitors and commuters alike.

"This kind of development is needed to ensure Winchester maintains a sustainable and diverse economy that is not simply reliant on tourism.

“Winchester has a high proportion of graduates and professionals in the knowledge sector and more needs to be done to provide opportunities for these people to work locally. This development will create more well paid jobs in the city centre, reducing the current high levels of out-commuting.”

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The site at present

The council has also moved to address claims by upset residents that their misgivings about the size and style of the Station Approach scheme were not taken on board at consultation in March.

The statement said: “There has been extensive consultation and more is planned.

“As is often the case, consultation shows that there are different and contrary views on the way forward for Station Approach. City councillors take all these views into account before determining the best way forward for Winchester – which is their role.”