PLANS to provide much-needed housing beside a former Hampshire cinema have been approved - exactly a year after a previous proposal was thrown out.

Civic chiefs have supported the latest application to build a block of flats on derelict land behind the old Savoy cinema in Junction Road, Totton.

The cinema closed in 1961 and became a block of flats known as Savoy House before the name was changed to The Old Cinema.

New Forest Post:

A previous application for flats on adjoining land was rejected by New Forest District Council in September last year.

But members approved the new scheme after hearing the applicants had scrapped plans to axe four of parking spaces serving the 21 homes at The Old Cinema.

A report to councillors confirmed that no spaces would be provided for occupants of the new flats.

It added that the site's proximity to a yard used by lorries making deliveries to the neighbouring Asda supermarket was "clearly not an ideal situation".

But it added: "The negatives needed to be weighed against the benefits.

"The site has lain dormant for a number of years. The proposal would regenerate the site and create a development which would make a positive contribution to the street and provide much-needed residential units.

"Totton town centre has a shortfall of flats and overall the district is finding challenge in trying to meet housing need.

"The proposal would provide social and economic benefits, including employment for construction workers and increased spending in local shops.

"It would also provide environmental benefits, in particular by making efficient use of the land by providing housing in a sustainable location close to services and facilities."

New Forest Post:

A spokesman for the applicants - Roxan Homes - said: "We are naturally delighted that the committee have approved our proposals to provide four, high quality homes.

"We have always considered that our proposals represented a well-designed and sustainable solution for a brownfield site that presented a number of challenges, and we are happy the committee have agreed with our vision.

"We believe the development will significantly improve the local environment and enhance the street scene."

The Savoy has been at the heart of the local community since before the Second World War.

It opened in 1935 and showed the latest releases until it closed as a cinema in 1961 and became a bingo hall. The building used as a factory before being turned into flats.