PLANS to bulldoze a former music venue and replace it with "desperately-needed" housing have taken a major step forward.

New Forest District Council has completed its purchase of the old Testwood Club, which is due to be torn down to make way for affordable homes.

The council decided to buy the Totton hub after it closed more than a year ago, having served the local community for seven decades.

Members tried to keep it afloat and even set up a Friends of Testwood group in a bid to explore ways of saving the popular facility.

New Forest Post:

But the detached two-storey building went on the market earlier this year and the council’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Jill Cleary, approved proposals to buy the site.

A council spokesperson confirmed that the authority had completed the purchase.

They added: “An architect has been instructed and plans are presently being prepared for the redevelopment of the site.

“Proposals are expected to be the subject of public consultation during the spring of 2020.

"We are working towards planning approval and the commencement of development during the course of the next financial year.”

As reported in the Daily Echo, the council has vowed to provide at least 600 new affordable homes for rent and shared ownership by 2026.

Plans to use the Testwood Club site were revealed earlier this year.

A report by council officers said: “The site could accommodate a high quality ‘low rise’ development of apartments. The homes will meet a local need and make a valuable contribution towards the council’s ambitious development programme.”

Civic chiefs have refused to say how much the authority agreed to pay for the building but the asking price was £550,000.

Totton councillor David Harrison said: "We desperately need homes, especially for young, local people.”