Southampton, located on the South Coast of the UK with a rich maritime heritage, has outstanding rail, road and air links and global maritime connections. Today, the city works hard to preserve and showcase its past while looking to the future with innovation, vision, and an inclusive perspective to enable opportunities for all that work and live here.
There is strong appetite for investment in Southampton which is demonstrated by three major schemes currently coming forward in the city. These three schemes alone represent over half a billion pounds (over £600 million) of private sector investment, redeveloping over 22 acres of the city centre and delivering:
- 2,000 new jobs
- 1,750 new city centre homes
- Three new hotels and serviced hotel apartments
- Major public realm and connectivity improvements
- Over 525,000 ft² of new commercial space
1 Bargate Quarter SHOW
Delivered by Tellon Capital and Legal & General, the £132 million scheme in the heart of the city not only delivers over 500 modern new homes, new retail and hospitality venues but also preserves the medieval walls found while creating a green linear park, shining a new light on Southampton’s rich heritage.
2 Maritime Gateway SHOW
Regenerating 4.8 acres formerly occupied by Toys R Us, Packaged Living and FI Real Estate Management are bringing forward this £200 million scheme which will transform arrival to the city and create a new sense of place in this area of the city with over 86,000 ft² of new pedestrian-led public realm including The International Maritime Promenade, The Maritime Gardens and The Central Park. Maritime Gateway will also deliver 600 new homes, new Grade A office space and new food, beverage and leisure venues.
3 Leisure World SHOW
The £280 million regeneration plan by Sovereign Centos and UBS seeks to rejuvenate the current Leisure World site and the adjoining industrial building on West Quay Road by creating a mixed-use destination over 13 acres that delivers multiple benefits for the city. Proposed development includes:
- A new cinema
- Leisure and wellbeing facilities
- 650 new homes
- Two 150-room hotels
- 80 serviced hotel apartments
- Modern workspace
- Vibrant public realm
- Much improved linkages within the city
This is just the tip of the iceberg of future opportunities for redevelopment and investment in Southampton. As part of the development of Southampton City Vision, our new Local Plan, we are conducting a Strategic Land Availability Assessment (SLAA). The purpose of the SLAA is to assess sites for all appropriate uses (i.e. housing, employment, mixed use) to inform our strategic site allocations. Two recent Call for Sites exercises resulted in 33 new sites representing over 135 acres of land being submitted by residents and businesses for assessment. Site assessments are currently underway and a draft version of the SLAA will be published alongside the Draft Plan with Options in 2022.
Find out more about why Southampton is a great place to invest:
The maritime sector SHOW
The maritime and logistics sector in Southampton operates both across the UK and also on an international basis. The Port of Southampton is the UK’s number one cruise port, welcoming on average over two million passengers each year. With ambitious plans to increase and welcome more cruise companies as recovery increases post pandemic, this has included a considerable investment in a fifth green cruise terminal in 2021.
The Port of Southampton also contributes £2.5 billion to the UK economy in a typical year. This is set to increase as Southampton is a key partner in the Solent Freeport bid. One of eight Freeports announced by the Government, this has the potential to attract £1 billion investment, create 16,000 local jobs in the Solent region and support the UK’s aspirations of becoming a global Britain.
Southampton is also the home for the Headquarters of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency and UK Ships Registry. The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is also based in Southampton and pioneers science, research and technology on a global basis. The city recently welcomed the relocation of a world-leading maritime innovator and robotics company Ocean Infinity to a purpose-built riverside location.
There is also an offering for those that enjoy all aspects of sailing and boats with the Southampton International Boat Show. Hosted by the city in September each year, the show typically attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually and showcases the best of the sailing and yachting world for commercial and leisure users.
Announced on 10 March 2022, the UK government has launched a new unit, UK SHORE, to tackle shipping emissions and advance the UK towards a sustainable shipping future. £206 million of new funding has been committed to accelerate research into and the development of clean maritime technologies and create skilled jobs across the country.
Medical facilities and research SHOW
University Hospital Southampton (UHS) is very different from other NHS Trusts in the UK. UHS is a centre of clinical academic excellence where new treatments are being discovered, new healthcare professionals are being trained and cutting edge developments are being put into practice.
The hospital operates across four locations in Southampton and provides services to over 1.9 million people living in Southampton and south Hampshire, as well as specialist services such as neurosciences, cardiac services and children's intensive care to more than 3.7 million people in central southern England and the Channel Islands. UHS is a designated major trauma centre, and one of only two places in the south of England to offer adults and children full onsite major trauma care provision.
Higher, further education and research facilities SHOW
Southampton has two universities with a student population of approximately 46,000. Many students are international and will not only come to complete a degree course but also attend English language schools in the city before starting student life.
The University of Southampton is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, has worked on prominent COVID-19 research projects and is now ranked 77th in the QS World University Rankings 2022.
Solent University specialises in business, the creative sector, sport and marine studies. The Warsash Maritime School which is part of Solent University, offers courses and training facilities that have been ranked among the best in the world with training available to cover all aspects of a maritime career.
Both universities offer a variety of undergraduate and post graduate courses underpinned with great student facilities and provide a meaningful academic and university experience.
A home for financial and professional service providers SHOW
Southampton is home to a number of well-known financial service providers including Quilter, Starling Bank, Benefex and Lloyd’s Register. These financial institutions are supported by a good selection of quality professional service providers including the “Big 4” Accountants and Legal firms.
There is a growing selection of innovative co-working spaces being developed across the city including a Network Barclays Eagle Lab in partnership with Southampton City Council, Old Bond Store combining co-working space and a club membership approach, through to the Ocean Village Innovation Centre, Regus and Basepoint business centres.
Hospitality and tourism SHOW
Our 10-year vision is to develop tourism in Southampton to deliver exceptional experiences and transform people’s perceptions of our culturally diverse and vibrant city. Southampton will be known as a welcoming cultural destination, captivating cruise visitors, growing conferences and drawing on our stories to create memorable experiences for visitors and communities.
Southampton hotels offer a wide range of accommodation options from a family run Bed and Breakfast through to the luxury five-star Harbour Hotel located in Ocean village.
The city has a vibrant nightlife with West End shows available at the Mayflower Theatre, a number of clubs, bars and pubs throughout the city, plus casinos. There are plenty of places to dine with a selection of traditional and international cuisines available across the city at places such as Ocean Village, Oxford Street and Bedford Place.
The city has a rich history and heritage that is benefitting from over £6 million of investment to repair and conserve many of the monuments in Southampton. This includes high-profile monuments such as the Bargate and the medieval Town Walls. The city’s heritage can also be found in the award-winning museum SeaCity Museum, known for its Titanic history, Tudor House and Solent Sky Museum, celebrating the Spitfire plane and its strong links to the city.
Southampton also has a premier league football club, Southampton FC, with a purpose-built stadium at St Mary’s within the city that hosts music events as well as football.
The retail offer SHOW
Westquay is an iconic shopping centre and is located in the heart of Southampton. It has an unparalleled reputation as a premier shopping, casual dining and leisure destination. Westquay is home to some of the top UK brands such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Apple and The Lego Store alongside over 70 other well-known retail favourites attracting an annual footfall of over 19 million.
Following the launch of Westquay South, the new leisure and dining extension in 2016, the scheme now boasts 50 cafés, bars and restaurants from Wagamama, Nando’s and Pizza Express to L’Osteria, Red Dog Saloon and Bill's, as well as a Showcase Cinema de Lux and Hollywood Bowl. Westquay is easily accessible, with rail, bus, and taxi stations and a short distance to ferry links from its central city location, combined with 4,000 secure car parking spaces spread over two car parks, it provides a modern and evolving retail destination for shoppers of all ages.
The city also has an Ikea, and various other well-known brands located on the edge of the city, complimented by easy access parking and a short distance from Southampton Central Railway Station and National Express Coach station.
Southampton will soon feature new retail destinations at Maritime Gateway and Bargate Quarter, two new schemes coming forward in the city. These new shopping venues will compliment the existing high street and provide new opportunities for businesses whilst giving residents and visitors to the city an even greater shopping experience.
Parks and public realm SHOW
Southampton features a number of outstanding and award-winning parks across the city. Southampton Central Parks, established between 1854 and 1866, have not only received a Green Flag Award but have also been awarded the prestigious Grade II listed status on the Historic England register of Parks and Gardens for special historic interest. This upgraded listing recognises the parks' national importance as examples of early municipal parks whose layout and design remains substantially intact, enhanced by notable monuments of social and historic interest associated with significant historical events.
As new city centre regeneration schemes continue to come forward, new areas of public realm will also be delivered. Maritime Gateway will transform entry to the city from the railway station with a new walkway leading towards the waterfront, named The International Maritime Promenade. Over 86,000 sq ft of pedestrian-led public realm is incorporated throughout the scheme with The Maritime Gardens and The Central Park improving biodiversity through a carefully designed landscape-led approach. The Bargate Quarter project and Leisure World regeneration will also see new areas for residents and visitors to enjoy in the heart of the city.
Image: Maritime Gateway
Our vision is to create a world-class waterfront city and a key part of this is making improvements to Mayflower Park. This park is uniquely situated on the water’s edge, overlooking the UK’s busiest cruise port and just a stone’s throw away from one of the UK’s longest stretches of medieval town walls.
Mayflower Park will be home to a magnificent new National Spitfire Monument and our proposed design and development aspirations will also significantly improve the park’s appeal and accessibility, using high-quality materials, improved architectural and safety lighting, whilst introducing a fantastic waterfront boardwalk or promenade and improving play and refreshment facilities. The wider vision for this area of Southampton also includes a new business centre and new transport systems to improve connectivity to the heart of the city.
These improvements will create a long-term home for the International Boat Show plus more opportunities for future maritime events and activities, including those linked to our UK City of Culture 2025 bid. This ambitious future vision will also contribute to the Levelling Up of Southampton by delivering new opportunities to boost productivity whilst creating a sense of place and local pride, bringing the depth of our rich heritage back into the light.
Image: National Spitfire Monument
By 2040, Southampton will be transformed through bold and ambitious plans to change how the city looks and feels.
Our vision is to make Southampton a modern, liveable and sustainable place to live, work and visit by investing in better and more innovative transport. Over the next 20 years, we want to secure a successful future for the city and improve the quality of life of all its residents. It’s an exciting time to be living and working in Southampton. To make sure the city thrives, we must think differently about transport. We are planning for clean, green and sustainable growth that puts people first.
To meet the main challenges transport in Southampton will have to address, we have identified three strategic goals:
- A Successful Southampton – improving transport to support the sustainable economic growth of Southampton. Investing in transport will enable people and goods to get around more easily
- A System for Everyone – making Southampton a safe and attractive place to live to improve quality of life. Ensuring everyone is included with access to transport
- A Better Way to Travel – supporting people to change how they move around the city by widening their healthy and clean travel choices by encouraging them to get around actively and healthily, and helping Southampton become a zero emission city
As part of our plan to transform the public transport system in Southampton, we are conducting feasibility studies into water taxis, connecting waterfront communities and venues, and a mass transit system, allow people to travel easily around and across Southampton on reliable, high quality vehicles.
More information about our vision for transport and plans, visit our Connected Southampton 2040 – Our Local Transport Plan.
UNICEF Child Friendly City SHOW
Southampton City Council has joined eight other councils in the UK taking part in the UNICEF UK Child Friendly Cities & Communities programme which works with councils to put children’s rights into practice. The ambitious three-to-five-year partnership will see councillors, council staff, stakeholders and local organisations turning to children’s rights – as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – to guide decisions that affect children and young people in Southampton.
The right of the child to have their views heard and taken seriously, for example, will mean that children will experience meaningful engagement in the design, delivery and place shaping of Southampton. Children will also actively inform and engage with all strategy and policy, with new strategic commitments expressed in child friendly terms to support children’s inclusion and participation in civic policy creation.
UK City of Culture 2025 SHOW
International partnerships SHOW
Southampton has always been an international gateway. Our strategic location, diverse communities and highly talented workforce have defined Southampton for decades. Southampton is home to many logistics and specialised supply chain operations with an expertise in international freight distribution. The access and global connections of the Port of Southampton and the well-developed transport connections makes us an attractive location to investors wanting to move their client’s goods to and from the UK.
For over a decade we have built partnerships with cities and organisations across the world. Southampton has been twinned with Le Havre (France), Rems-Murr-Kreis (Germany), Trieste (Italy) Hampton (Virginia, USA), Qingdao (China), Busan (South Korea) and Miami (Florida, USA). The new University of Southampton India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development serves as a distinctive platform to engage better and closely with India, raising Southampton’s visibility and reputation in India, as well as reaffirming the University’s continued global focus and outlook.
We are also developing strong links to the City of Mumbai. This partnership will enable the City of Southampton to position itself as an indispensable strategic partner for any organisation based in the city or the wider region, wishing to deepen relationships with India. This would include establishing Southampton’s importance in international trade post Brexit, with 80% of non-EU trade going through the Port of Southampton, becoming a destination city for Indian students, positioning the city as a centre of excellence for innovation and research, and creating a cultural offer which aligns to these ambitions and speaks to the significant part of Southampton's population that relates to India through family or birth.