Plans to bulldoze a former cannabis factory to make way for two new student blocks in the city centre have been given the go-ahead. 

The site, between High Street and Castle Way in the city centre, would see 249 bedrooms in a building up to six storeys high and eight bedrooms in a three-storey building.

The accommodation will replace several derelict buildings which were raided by police in February 2021, with officers finding almost 2,000 cannabis plants with a street value of £3.8m.

At the time, Chief Inspector Ricky Dhanda said: "It is not just cannabis, it’s linked to serious criminality."

The ground floor of the scheme would have communal areas towards the High Street which would provide an 'active frontage' and 'would repair the historic building line', developers said.

READ MORE: Almost 2,000 cannabis plants with value of £3.8m seized in Southampton

In April 2022, a planning application for 98 flats on the site was approved - but it was then sold to Hartdene Properties for £3.2 million in April 2023.

Daily Echo: Student accommodation from the High StreetStudent accommodation from the High Street (Image: Stelling Properties)

Now, the current plans submitted by applicant Big Sur in November 2023 have been given the go-ahead by the city council.

The applicant said: “The proposal offers the opportunity for high-quality external spaces that students can socialise and relax in.

“The ground floor terrace is a south-facing patio directly accessed from the communal kitchen and games areas, whereas the roof terrace provides views across the High Street.

“It is set back from the High Street and residential block to the south to minimise disturbance and it's use will be heavily managed by Unilife, with limited opening hours, CCTV and a code of conduct.”

They added: “The resultant scheme repairs the historic fabric in this part of the city centre, provides public realm and biodiversity improvements and revitalises a derelict site in a highly sustainable location.

“Similar to our other developments in Southampton, we are committed to delivering this project in the very near future.”