Two more office blocks in Swindon could be converted into flats – and the owners of one of them say the coronavirus pandemic is partly responsible.

One of the blocks will be familiar to most Swindonians – it’s the former NatWest bank building at 84-86 Commercial Road, next door to the exit from one of the Brunel Centre’s car parks.

Simon Tomlinson wants to convert the three-storey red brick building into seven apartments – two on the ground floor, three on the first and two on the second floor, which would also have a terrace garden.

South Swindon Parish Council does not object if cycle storage is suitable and the council’s housing officer is happy as long as one of the flats on the ground floor is redesigned to allow escape from a bedroom is not through the joined lounge and kitchen.

Mr Tomlinson did not respond to a request from comment.

The other office building is Stirling House in South Marston Industrial Estate.

Owner Kindale Enterprises Ltd, based in Bedfordshire, is keen to turn the building into 26 flats because they say there is little or no future for the building as an office block.

The application says the building’s ground floor has been empty since the original owners left the building in 2008. It was bought by current owners in 2017 and let to Capita until this October 2019, when the company left.

Kindale Enterprises says despite constant marketing by the previous owners and itself that “the ground floor has been vacant for excess of 12 years and the first floor has been marketed as part of the overall building for almost three. There has been no interest on the overall site and historically next to no interest on the ground floor.

The company says its agents say the size of the building and its current planning permission to use it as open plan offices mean it will be hard to find a company to take it on. It adds the effect of coronavirus will make more offices redundant as more people work from home.

The plans show there would be no external works to convert two floors into 26 flats, eight two-bed, four on each floor and the rest single bedroom apartments.

Developers would keep all 78 par parking spaces including four disabled spaces that come with the building and say the change of use would reduce the numbers of journeys to the building, posing no extra intensification of traffic in the area.