NEW flats will be built in the heart of Yeovil town centre after plans to convert an existing building were approved.

66 Middle Street lies near the town’s former bandstand, where Somerset Council and its contractors are currently constructing a new amphitheatre and giant LED screen for public events, as part of the Yeovil Refresh regeneration programme.

The premises has been host to numerous hospitality businesses over the years, including the Porter Blacks bar, The Real China Oriental buffet and most recently the Turkish restaurant Turquoise Kitchen.

Tim Carr has put forward numerous proposals to redevelop the upper floors of the building into residential accommodation – the most recent being the creation of ten flats, which was submitted in early-March.

Somerset Council has now given its backing to these proposals, meaning work could begin before the end of the current year.

Under the approved plans, there will be five flats on both the first and second floors, providing one- and two-bedroom accommodation.

While ten cycle spaces will be provided in the basement of the building, there will be no allocated car parking spaces.

Mr Carr – whose company Somerset Property Ventures Ltd. has its headquarters in Maidstone in Kent – previously secured permission in July 2022 to convert the building into 12 flats, though it is unclear whether this permission has since lapsed.

Decisions remain pending on two other applications for the property – one to build an extension above the second floor to deliver an additional seven flats, and one to turn the building into a house of multiple occupancy (HMO), which could provide 17 homes with shared communal spaces.

The plans for ten flats were approved through the delegated powers of the council’s planning officers, rather than a public decision by its planning committee south (which handles major applications in the former South Somerset area).

Planning officer Oliver Jones said: “The application has demonstrated that the proposal would not result in an unacceptable impact on the local highway network, subject to details of construction management.

“The site does lie within an area of potentially noise generating uses, and therefore a safeguarding condition is recommended to ensure an acceptable standard of amenity for future occupiers.

“Furthermore, the building proposed for conversion would provide all habitable rooms with adequate natural light, without the intervention of operational development.”

Construction work on the amphitheatre is expected to be completed by the council’s contractor by the end of the summer.

Further development within the Middle Street area is expected in the coming years after the council announced its intention to buy the vacant Glovers Walk shopping centre and demolish the complex ahead of any planned regeneration.