DEVELOPERS have submitted plans to transform part of a Hampshire shopping centre bulldozing a former bank and redeveloping the site.

Civic chiefs have received an application to demolish the old NatWest bank - which closed after its ceiling collapsed two years ago - and replace it with a three-storey building containing nine flats.

The current complex forms part of Totton Shopping Precinct - described as "tired" by the applicants.

The application says: "The precinct in its current form would appear to offer a number of areas that that could be enhanced and improved by extension, refurbishment and redevelopment.

"The precinct could then provide a stronger overall contribution to Totton town centre."

Criticising the current appearance of the precinct the application says the lack windows overlooking Library Road offers a "blank frontage".

It adds that the proposed development includes two floors of accommodation, which will help to enliven the street.

"The current precinct is in a tired state, especially at first floor level. Here is a chance to invigorate the precinct for shoppers and provide additional accommodation above the retail units."

Totton councillor David Harrison added: "I welcome the proposal to put the site back into use.

"It seems the problems with the roof are so serious that it's economic to bulldoze the building and start again. It's in a very visible position so it's important that the design is good."

The proposal, submitted by the Pegasus Group on behalf of the applicant, Grainrent Ltd, includes flats on the first and second floors.

Totton and Eling Town Council is urging New Forest District Council to approve the scheme.

In a letter to the authority it says: "This is a significant reduction in commercial floorspace in the heart of Totton town centre. However, much of the ground floor commercial space is retained, which is a key factor.

"The building itself is in keeping with the surrounding area although it lacks the landmark design the town council would like to see.

"Although it is far from the frontage that could be achieved, it is still an improvement on the current structure and empty premises. The first and second floor residential units have been well designed and will provide quality town centre flats."

As reported in the Daily Echo, the NatWest bank has been closed since its ceiling collapsed in 2017. No-one was hurt.