DEVELOPERS are planning to transform a shopping centre "eyesore" by providing a Hampshire town with its only hotel.

Civic chiefs have received an application to redevelop a site at Commercial Road, Totton, that is currently being used to store vehicles and containers.

Supporters of the scheme say the 24-bedroom hotel will create much-needed jobs as well as providing vital trade for other businesses.

A design and access statement that forms part of the application says: "The proposal seeks to inject life into a dormant site, replacing tall fencing with an attractive, active frontage.

"The building would add interest to the area, create employment and vastly improve the streetscape."

The site is opposite Totton Retail Park and a short walk from the main shopping precinct. If the hotel is approved it will be the only facility of its type in the town.

New Forest District Council has already received several letters from locals supporting the proposal.

David Wallis said: "This is just what Totton needs, a high-quality building to enhance the entrance to Totton and remove an eyesore that has blighted the town for years."

Duncan McCulloch is the director of TSI Group Ltd, which has its UK headquarters in Totton.

He said: "We have many engineers who travel (here) from within Europe and always need local, good-quality accommodation.

"Having a hotel on our doorstep will be beneficial and cost effective for us, but we believe it will also be a positive development for the town as well as giving its many small businesses the huge benefit of increased trade."

Totton and Eling Town Council is also backing the application.

A spokesman said: "The location has long been unsightly and is currently being used for parking and storage. The new use would add employment and greatly improve the aesthetics of this prominent area in Totton."

But the district council is concerned about several aspects of the proposed development.

An initial report by a report planning officer criticises the size and design of the two and three-storey hotel, saying it has "limited architectural merit" and describing the design as dated.

People living near the site say they are worried about the amount of late-night noise likely to be generated by hotel guests.

The planning agent for the scheme is Bartley-based Concept Design and Planning, but the identity of the applicant is not being revealed at this stage.