AN area of Southampton city centre is set to be given a new lease of life as multi-million pound plans to transform it have been given the go-ahead.

City bosses backed plans for 110 flats, a 225-bedroom hotel, new shops and 4,368sqm of office space outside Southampton Central train station.

The Nelson Gate development will see a block of flats which could be 20-storey high, the hotel and 43 parking spaces created in the western part of the site.

Grenville House will be demolished and Norwich House and Frobisher House will be refurbished as part of the scheme which was unanimously supported by members of the Planning and Right of Way Panel at Southampton City Council.

At the meeting of the panel held last night Simon Reynier, representing City of Southampton society said the group welcomes the scheme but raised concerns over the need for more hotels in the city.

He also asked for more green space to be provided at the site as part of the development.

“There’s an excessive amount of concrete in this area which is oppressive in the hot summer days,” he added.

Officers said there is still capacity for more hotels in the city and said green space is already part of the scheme.

They also told the panel that a new footpath will be created to link the development to Commercial Road and Hill Lane.

Marianne McCallum, representing the applicant FI Real Estate Management, described the scheme as “very ambitious”.

She added: “We have made sure that the mix of uses is right, that we have a balance and it is not focused on residential. We do have that mix of uses that maximises economic benefits, increases footfall and has social benefits as well.”

Ms McCallum said the scheme is a unique opportunity to refurbish this area of the city.

It comes as Norwich House has been empty since June 2010.

Cllr Dave Shield, cabinet members for healthier and safer city, said the new scheme will help stop anti-social behaviours in the area.

After the meeting he added: “The area is not safe now because there’s no-one around. I think if people are living in that area, there’s a hotel and it is busy then I think that it will help to reduce that. Anything that brings life to the area and increases footfall is probably going to be helpful.”

A final decision on the scheme will now be made by officers once details of the developers contribution will be agreed.

Councillors also agreed that deliveries to the shops at the site will have to stop at 9pm rather than 11pm.