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Southampton's Toys R Us site could be turned into 600 flats

Southampton News

PLANS to build hundreds of new flats in the city centre have been praised for "breathing new life into a derelict site".

A total of 600 flats and 60,000sqft of office space could be created at the former Toys R Us site, developers have revealed.

A new hotel, serviced apartments, cafes and green spaces could also be built at the site, which has been named The Maritime Gateway.

Developer Packaged Living said it is seeking to deliver ”a green and sustainable” scheme.

A public consultation on the plans will close on October 10.

The plans have been supported by one Southampton MP who described the move as "exciting".

"These are really exciting plans," said Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith.

"The area around Central Station has been neglected for far too long and this development will breathe new life into a derelict site.

"The mix of much needed housing, new jobs and leisure activities will further enhance Southampton's offer and give opportunities for local people.”

Bargate councillors have made calls for affordable housing in the area, but developers have said that delivering affordable homes"will be impacted".

The new flats would be available for private rental as build-to-rent and developers said: “Due to the challenges and cost of cleaning up the site from its past uses the ability to deliver affordable houses will be impacted.

"This impact will be assessed in the standard way as the development comes forward.”

Cllr John Noon told the Daily Echo: " I am going to view the developers proposers for this site [today], what I would like to see is affordable family housing which there is a real need for in Southampton."

Cllr Sarah Bogle, who is also attending the consultation session today, said: "I have asked about the affordability of housing on this site.

"This is an important site and we need to get this right so it is joined up with any other plans for this part of the city."

A planning application is expected to be submitted to Southampton City Council following the public consultation.

If approved, work at the site could begin by winter 2022.

Initial plans for the site were first unveiled in 2019 and included proposals for 275 flats, new restaurants, cafes and shops as well as an office block which was set to be funded by Southampton City Council through borrowing.

But last month the newly elected council leader Cllr Daniel Fitzhenry said the authority would not be paying for the office building.

Following the publication of the latest plans, developers said: “Packaged Living recognises that the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way that people live, work, socialise and shop.

“As a result, to ensure the project is sustainable and deliverable, a vision has emerged that will include a mixture of privately rented residential units, along with new retail space and office space.”

Source: Daily Echo