PLANS to demolish part of a Hampshire shopping precinct have been given the green light.

Grainrent is drawing up proposals to bulldoze a former bank at the eastern end of Totton Shopping Centre and transform the site.

Now New Forest District Council has confirmed that the demolition does not need the authority's approval.

A report produced by the authority's planning officers says: "The building is currently vacant and there are proposals to redevelop the site. Accordingly it would not make practical or financial sense to repair it."

New Forest Post:

As reported in the Daily Echo, the building housed a NatWest bank which closed two years ago after part of the roof fell in.

The council report says a planning application to redevelop the site is expected to be submitted shortly.

It adds: "Given the short duration of the demolition, and the fairly small scale of the works, it is considered that the impact on amenities would be limited.

"A comprehensive survey will be undertaken to inform the prospective contractor of all asbestos-containing materials.

"The applicant has provided sufficient details on the proposed demolition and it is considered that there is no need to seek further details beyond those already submitted.

"The demolition could reasonably take place without giving rise to adverse environmental effects."

Quoting comments made by the council's environmental health team the report says: "There are few concerns in relation to the demolition phase provided that the developers strictly follow their own demolition procedures and controls all the noise and dust at source."

New Forest Post:

Earlier this year Grainrent was said to be drawing up plans to replace the bank with a three-storey building containing nine flats on the first and second floors.

Speaking at the time Totton councillor David Harrison said: "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."

Since the bank shut in 2017 customers have been advised to use the NatWest branch in Romsey Road, Shirley.

The green light for demolition comes just weeks after it was revealed that a third of the country's banks have closed in the past four years.

Research carried out by Which? shows that 3,303 shut their doors between January 2015 and August 2019.