A Former Barclays bank in Littlehampton can now be turned into a 23 bed house in multiple occupation, after planners approved the proposals.
The former Barclays branch at 71 High Street, closed its doors last June, after customer numbers fell to less than 100.
The building is set to be extended to provide 23 bedrooms with space for four shops on the ground floor.
Rooms will include private bathrooms as well as storage space and access to a communal terrace, however there will be no parking.
Arun district councillors approved the scheme during a planning committee meeting on Wednesday 20th July.
However it was done so with reluctance from some as there have been rising concerns about the number of HMO's in the town.
Conservative councillor for East Preston Ricky Bower said: “I don’t regard this as a HMO - it’s a hostel.”
Conservative councillor for Felpham East and Committee vice-chair David Edwards said it would be a ‘massive improvement on the street scene’ but that was the only positive he could find.
Lib-Dem councillor for Brookfield Billy Blanchard-Cooper expressed concerns about a lack of disabled access to the shops but planning officers said this would be picked up by the building control department as it is a legal requirement.
Alex Bateman is the director of planning at Mohsin Cooper Architects and spoke to support the scheme.
“Taking a step back, this is a brownfield site in the centre of Littlehampton in an incredibly sustainable location,” he said, “It is sites like these that planning policy at all levels would encourage for intensification.”
Mr Bateman added that the proposals were ‘well considered’ and explained that the town centre location would make car parking ‘unsuitable and unsafe’.
He also said that 42 cycle spaces would be provided by the developer.
Littlehampton Town Council objected to the plans, citing overdevelopment and a lack of parking, but it welcomed new commercial units.
The Littlehampton Society and four members of the public also objected.
The council conservation officer raised concerns about the extension as the site is close to listed buildings and East Street Conservation Area.
They concluded that any harm would be outweighed by the new homes and businesses.
More details can be found on the council’s planning portal using the reference: LU/382/21/PL.