CIVIC chiefs have given the green light to plans for a new 100-bed student accommodation site in the heart of the city.

Five retail units will be demolished as part of the proposals for the new two block housing scheme on East Street.

The two buildings, one of which will be seven stories and the other five, will also include common areas and two new “contemporary” retail units, facing out towards Debenhams.

The new block will built on the corner of East Street and Orchard Lane – which is currently occupied by restaurants and a small fitness studio

Designers, Depth Architects, say that the new building will “add value” and “improve the area” – which is currently subject to numerous redevelopment plans.

The London-based company added: “The development will enhance the experience of East Street en route to further developments at its eastern end, lift the urban design quality and create an interesting building that aids regeneration.”

The proposals, which were approved by Southampton City Council last week, are one of a number of large-scale developments planned for the East Street area.

Kier are currently converting former office block Capital House into student digs, accompanied by a row of town houses.

Once completed the development will create 423 purpose built student bed-spaces.

The remaining land, owned by National and Regional – previously trading as Hampshire and Regional– had been earmarked as a potential Aldi supermarket.

However, as reported in the Echo on Saturday the German discount chain has now shelved its plans to open a store on the site.

Meanwhile, multi-million pound plans to regenerate the derelict Bargate Shopping Centre were given the green light by civic chiefs in August.

Discussing the regeneration of the East Street area, Bargate councillor, Darren Paffey, said: “It’s an area that has been looking tired and needs improvements, particularly after the council’s work to improve the Holyrood Estate, which is looking great.

“This is one more piece of the plan in order to bring more people to the area.

“I really hope this spruces up the area and brings new life to it.”