CITY planners have approved the redevelopment of a prominent city-centre site in Southampton.

The building, which currently houses Japanese restaurant Zen, on the corner of High Street and Bernard Street will be demolished for redevelopment.

The proposal to tear down the restaurant and erect a five-storey complex in the heart of the Old Town, as well as a new restaurant, has been approved by Southampton City Council.

There will be three studio flats, 13 one-bedroom flats and six two-bedroom apartments.

The existing two-storey building is a prime location, surrounded by listed buildings, including Holyrood Church and Woolwich House.

Immediately to the east of the site is the Fruit and Vegetable Market where there is planning permission for a predominantly residential scheme of five to seven storeys high, and construction has already started.

Architect Jonathan Taylor said: “We have taken inspiration from the building that are surrounding, however it is a new building so they will be modern flats. The new complex will be built in the same footprint of the current building.”

BrightSpace architects were approached by the existing owners to produce proposals for a mixed-use scheme that redevelops the existing premises through expanding the restaurant into the unused commercial space.

The architects say the appearance and selection of materials have been inspired by the nearby listed buildings and is an opportunity to unite the different styles of architecture by using high-quality materials that respect the setting of the Old Town and use design cues to reflect the local context.

“The development is still in the early stages and should be completed in around two years time,” said Mr Taylor.

Currently the Zen restaurant is still open for service six days a week.