NOT one of the almost 3,000 people to sign a petition to save a “loved” music venue turned up to defend it last night (Feb 26), as plans were approved to bulldoze the site for flats.

Voted through four to three, the accommodation complex that is set to house 39 flats will now be built on Vincents Walk, replacing the Firehouse bar.

The application had previously prompted many punters to vocally object to the plans in the run up to Southampton City Council’s Planning Committee meeting, with thousands demanding the authority scrap the scheme.

But at the hearing, only two members of the public objected – and both were only the grounds of the impact of the new tower on the neighbouring parks.

However, the lack of bar-related objectors could be explained after one of the three people to speak in support of the application was Firehouse manager Rob Parhizkar.

Having worked at the venue for more than a decade, and managed it for the past six years, Mr Parhizkar said he and the bar’s landlord were on the hunt to take over another city location.

He said: “The [current] building is tired and I can see this as a possible route to a better building [for the Firehouse] and to continue to allow the business to grow.”

No alternative venue, however, has yet been found. A date for the closure of the Firehouse has also not yet been announced.

Councillors also debated the point that of the 11 two-bed and 28 one-bed flats, not one will be an ‘affordable home’.

This angered some committee members included the city’s former mayor Councillor Les Harris.

“Where are the people going to go who cannot afford this high rise flats?” he asked.

“There must be a system where the applicant can design a new building where they can also include affordable housing.”

The Bassett councillor also raised issue with the height of the building, adding: “The height is also a concern as we do not have a policy in place of how many buildings [of similar height] we can have [in that area].”

Nevertheless, the applicant argued that no profit can be made if affordable homes are included. This is because of the “high quality” of the building materials needed to be used due to the height of the building.

This was also a point backed by chairman of the committee Councillor John Savage.