PLANNING chiefs are studying an application to bulldoze a Southampton office block and replace it with 88 flats in a building designed for working from home.
Telereal General Property GP Ltd is seeking consent to convert a site occupied by Friary House, a four-storey complex built in Briton Street in the 1980s.
Plans for converting Friary House into 46 houses were approved by City Council in October 2021, but the scheme was never implemented.
Now the authority is being asked to back proposals to build an eight-storey apartment building on the site, part of the Old Town South Conservation Zone.
A design and access statement that forms part of the application states that Friary House is “utilitarian” in character and has a poor relationship with its surroundings.
He claims the building has a detrimental impact on the setting of the old city wall, which dates from the medieval period.
Referring to the earlier proposal to convert Friary House, the statement says the additional floors needed to make the project viable would exceed the limits of the foundations.
READ MORE: Plans for 45 apartments in Southampton city center office building
Talks with council had resulted in the abandonment of the ‘retain and renovate’ approach in favor of a purpose-built block meeting modern standards.
“The recent pandemic has caused a shift in the way people work,” the statement added.
“Indeed, working from home has become a normal part of life and people, in general, have embraced the benefits and work-life balance it offers.
“However, not all homes are suitable to accommodate this new way of working and it is the responsibility of architects and developers to provide and design suitable spaces and to respond to the organization of working from home.
“The proposed building includes two areas that aim to provide space for residents to work from home.
“On the ground floor, the Residents’ Lounge is located adjacent to the main residential lobby, providing a convenient and appropriate space for working from home and informal meetings.
“In addition, a resident amenity area is located on the top floor of the development, which provides an alternative area suitable for working from home.
“This area benefits from being adjacent to the landscaped roof terrace.”
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