PLANS have been submitted to turn part of the former Co-op supermarket unit in Stourbridge town centre into 14 flats.

The prominent High Street unit has been empty since the supermarket chain pulled out of the town centre in October 2016.

A plan, however, has now been submitted to turn part of the ground floor of the building as well as the first and second floors into 14 one and two-bedroom apartments.

A design and access statement submitted to the council's planning department, prepared by Yorkshire based Dapatchi Architecture on behalf of applicants Sheet Anchor Evolve Ltd, says there would be minimal outward changes to the building as a result of the application and it adds: "The high street facing elevation would remain unchanged and the entire proposal has been designed to work within the existing shell of the building."

It also states that the "rear of the building would be greatly tidied up as a result of the proposal" and says the scheme will be "respectful of the character and appearance of its wider context".

Documents submitted to planners on behalf of the applicant state there would be just seven car parking spaces for residents, plus cycle parking for all properties, due to the development's close proximity to amenities and public transport hubs and this is considered acceptable taking into consideration typical car ownership figures for apartment residents across the borough.

West Midlands Police's designing out crime officer Robert Manson, from the force crime reduction unit, however, has said he cannot support the plan due to fears the development could create an anti-social behaviour hot spot and lead to an increase in calls to the police.

He said the scheme does not take into account visitors or utility vans visiting the premises and that shoppers visiting the ground flood shop unit part of the building would likely use empty spaces belonging to residents if they could not find a free parking space outside - and similarly residents unable to park in allocated bays would likely park in shopping parking bays.

He said the High Street has a high vehicle crime rate and adding parking to the rear of the premises would likely result in an increase in such crimes.

The building would also be vulnerable to burglary and anti-social behaviour, he said, due to its two-stage flat roof.