Revitalising and strengthening our town and district centres

Shirley Precinct Bitterne Park

Southampton city centre is the focus for major retailing, leisure and offices in the city. It is supported by Shirley town centre and the district centres of Portswood, Bitterne, Woolston and Lordshill. These meet the weekly shopping needs of residents and are the focus for community services. Although they fulfil a similar role, each of these centres has its own character and will have different issues to address in the next 20 years.

Southampton’s centres could change considerably during the next 20 years with changes in shopping habits, increased flexibility in the planning system to convert small shops and pressure to build new homes. They will also be affected by new development close to centres, such as Centenary Quay in Woolston, and within centres, including developments proposed in Shirley and Portswood. In addition to existing proposals, there is scope for the Local Plan to support the increase in density and height of buildings, with new flats built over shops and cafes/bars/restaurants.

Local centres

In addition to Shirley town centre and the four district centres, the plan will protect important local centres. These fulfil a vital role in providing shops and services close to people’s homes to meet their day-to-day needs.

The local centres currently protected are:

  1. Bevois Valley
  2. Bitterne Park Triangle
  3. Burgess Road
  4. Cumbrian Way
  5. Harefield (Exford Avenue)
  6. Maybush
  7. Merryoak
  8. Midanbury - The Castle
  9. Portswood Road
  10. St. James Road
  11. St. Mary's Road
  12. Swaythling
  13. Thornhill Park Road
  14. Weston
  15. Winchester Road

The new Local Plan will designate centres and set out what type of uses and new development are appropriate within their boundaries. It will limit ground floor residential uses in centres to protect their shopping role. The plan will reassess all the centres and their boundaries to check that the right areas are protected.