A BASINGSTOKE housing association is bidding to transform an empty office into more than 50 new apartments.

Sentinel Housing Association, based in Kingsclere Road, has purchased Dextra Court, in Chapel Hill and is planning to convert the building into 56 new apartments.

The premises, which has been empty since November 2013, was previously occupied by Friends Life, a pension and insurance provider, before the company closed its Basingstoke branch.

Sentinel has been working with Kenn Scaddan Associates Limited, an architect that specialises in redevelopment projects with housing associations, to prepare floor plans for the proposed refurbishment.

The housing association now plans to apply to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for permitted development rights to convert the building.

Mike Shepherd, Sentinel’s development director, said: “One of our ambitions is to build a wide range of homes and these new apartments will offer local people the convenience of living right in the centre of town.”

If approved, the new apartments will complement additional development projects by Sentinel, which has unveiled plans to build nearly 600 homes at the neighbouring former Eli Lilly site.