A FORMER hostel for homeless women which has been vacant for five years is to be overhauled into new living accommodation.

The Sandringham Court site, in Paddock Road, South Ham, has been empty since 2014, when the former hostel was closed due to funding cuts facing Hampshire County Council.

However, following work by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council officers and South Ham ward councillors, a planning application has been approved for the site.

The proposal will see the current building demolished and replaced with 10 two-bedroom flats and three one-bedroom flats.

The application put forward by Affinity Sutton read: “The development aims to make a significant contribution to the provision of high-quality accommodation that offers a safe home with the provision of on-site parking and private amenity spaces.

“The scheme will also benefit the area by enhancing the quality of the local architecture and housing stock providing affordable housing for families and young couples.”

The site was previously used as a hostel with 16 flats to provide a safe place for single homeless women.

However the facility was closed in 2014 following sweeping cuts to support services for the vulnerable made by Hampshire County Council due to a reduction in government funding.

Once the development has been built, the new flats will be let by Clarion Housing Association at affordable rents for Basingstoke residents on the housing register, something which has been praised by the South Ham ward councillors.

Ward councillor Gary Watts said: “It is a disgrace that the building has been left empty for nearly five years.

“At last now after constant pressure from local councillors, this much-needed housing will be built.”

The application added: “The Housing Register has shown a need for two-bed family units as well as small flats aimed at single people and couples.

“A public consultation event demonstrated that the majority of local residents were in favour of the change in use to family accommodation, in addition to the provision of 14 new homes to help meet the ever-increasing demand for affordable housing.”

Demolition work on the site is expected to start later in the year.