AN ICONIC Eastleigh building which was earmarked as a new “health hub” is now being converted into new homes.

Mitchell House - a former office block which has stood empty for years - will be transformed into 67 “luxury” flats.

A previous application to convert the building, which was built in the 1970s, into a health centre was withdrawn in May.

Located opposite Eastleigh train station, it will instead feature a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments.

The site lies within Eastleigh town centre and comprises a five-storey brick office building fronting onto the A335 Southampton Road.

The living spaces which are still being built will be aimed at first-time buyers and will reportedly be ready by spring of next year.

However, according to estate agents, Connells, none of the flats will be offered as affordable housing - although a help to buy scheme will be available.

There will also only be parking spaces for half of the residents.

Deputy leader of Eastleigh Borough Council and cabinet member for regeneration, councillor Paul Bicknell said that the building is being converted under permitted development rights.

This is when certain types of work can be done without needing to apply for planning permission from the local authority.

Cllr Bicknell added: “The new flats at Mitchell House will bring more people and shoppers into Eastleigh and be a benefit to local businesses. It will help to increase the viability of the town.

“However, I am disappointed that Mitchell House and properties like it can bypass affordable housing through permitted development rights. I am also disappointed that discussions with the NHS did not provide a health centre for Eastleigh as it would have been a good site for it.”

Last year town planners approved a scheme to turn Mitchell House into a health centre.

It was proposed the site would accommodate existing Eastleigh GP practices including St Andrews Surgery, Archers Practice and Parkside Practice.

A number of health and care services were to be provided at the centre and could have included outpatients services such as audiology, midwifery, diabetes care, speech and language therapy, dermatology and respiratory.

It was also proposed to base experts specialised in physiotherapy, children and social care and mental health there.