A stark photo shows the moment a derelict former bank is demolished to make way for student housing.

The former Bank of England site, operational from 1938 until 1986, has stood empty on High Street in Southampton for years.

But now the building will be given a new lease of life as major work gets underway to transform the site into student flats.

Planning for 120 student units at the building was granted in June 2017, but plans later stalled.

A change to the plans to allow up to 120 - giving some flexibility - was submitted this year by Stelling Properties on behalf of Unilife. This was approved by Southampton City Council.

Very little of the Neo-Classical building now remains as demolition work begins.

Daily Echo:

But the front of the building in High Street will be retained. The existing building is repurposed as a restaurant or cafe space.

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New student accommodation will form the soon-to-be newly built rear, standing at five storeys tall.

The existing basement is proposed to be a plant room and common room, while the roof will be used as external amenity space for the students.

The rear wall towards the east - and the sentry box positioned within it – will also stay.

Developers said the site is ‘well located’ in a ‘highly sustainable location with excellent transport links’.

Daily Echo:

The site is also only 200m from the almost completed Unilife scheme on East Street.

The plans were originally spearheaded by The Millhouse Group which proposed building 120 self-contained student accommodation units.

Original plans included a frameless glass viewing platform facing the High Street, and work was due to start in 2018. This is no longer in the plans.

But the site was put up on the market with a guide price of £3 million in 2020.

It was previously home to bar Wahoo and nightclub Walkabout. 

The building was constructed in a facade of Portland stone, featuring motifs by the sculptor Sir Charles Wheeler and large bronze doors.