A LANDMARK building in the centre of a Hampshire town is set to be demolished and replaced by flats.

The former NatWest branch in Commercial Road, Totton, has been closed since 2017, when part of the roof collapsed after a period of torrential rain.

Now Grainrent has been given planning permission to transform the site.

The bank will be torn down and replaced by a three-storey building containing nine flats, all of which will be on the first and second floors. The ground floor will be occupied by a business.

Grainrent’s application has been approved by New Forest District Council.

Totton and Eling Town Council had supported the proposal, despite saying it “lacked the landmark design” such an important site deserved.

It added: “Although it is far from the improved commercial 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 small quality flats.

“There are however concerns about the potential loss of several staff parking spaces and also the cumulative impact that continued development with no allocated parking will have on parking in the town centre.”

The bank occupies the south-eastern corner of Totton Precinct, which was built in the 1960s.

A report produced by district council planning officers says the proposed development will provide much-needed flats in the town centre as well as replacing a building which is “fairly unattractive and in poor condition”.

It adds: “The town centre shops and commercial uses will benefit from more spending by additional people living in the area."

NatWest customers living in the Totton area have had to travel to the Shirley branch since the closure. The nearby HSBC branch has also shut.