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Former Totton cinema remodel will create six new homes

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ADDING six new flats to a refurbished former cinema in Totton has been given the go-ahead despite concerns the town was being asked to take too much new housing.

The scheme to create a new second floor at The Old Cinema in Junction Road, which already holds 21 apartments, had been opposed by the town council over a lack of any additional parking.

But at a meeting of New Forest District Council's planning committee, planning officer Warren Simmonds said the scheme would provide six new dwellings in a sustainable location "with very good provision of local services and facilities and access to public transport”.

The flats pictured in 2015 (picture: Google)
The flats pictured in 2015 (picture: Google)

Planning agent Sadaf Pourzand noted that Totton had excellent cycle routes which meant the centre of Southampton could be reached in 20 minutes.

She said: “The demand for affordable accommodation is huge in the centre of Totton and the existing block of 21 flats have been rented out with absolutely no problem.

"We have no doubt that if a further six become available they will be rented out quickly.”

The site is named after the former Savoy Cinema which opened in 1935 and ran until 1961. Following its sale in 1997 it was turned into flats and became known as Savoy House.

However, in 2015 residents were evacuated from the council-run building as a result of structural faults and fire and asbestos issues. The site was sold in 2016, refurbished and renamed The Old Cinema.

Cllr Sue Bennison said: “This application will provide six more people with the luxury of having somewhere to live, and I am fully in support of it.”

However, Cllr Maureen Holding said: “The constant assumption that occupants will not have a car will lead to problems in the local area due to the lack of parking. The problems are already there.”

Cllr Rebecca Clark said: “There will be people for whom having a car is a luxury, having a garden is a luxury.

"There is demand for this kind of unit. The good thing is Totton can offer so much around that: they can shop, they can travel, and they can commute.”

Cllr Arthur Davis warned Totton should not be the only town having to provide new small dwellings, and he said: “We are overloaded. We cannot take it all. Maybe we should be looking out to some of our leafy suburbs to provide housing.”

Planning permission was granted by nine votes to three.

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