Southampton renaissance gathers pace with appointment of Prior + Partners to lead masterplan

The Southampton Renaissance Masterplan is Southampton City Council’s response to the challenges that the city is currently facing as part of the unsettled economic climate across the country and the world, with everyone, people, businesses, and governments feeling the squeeze

A photo of the Bargate Lions with the Bargate Quarter development in the background

Across the country levels of investment and development have been impacted by higher inflation and interest rates and Southampton is no exception.

The Southampton Renaissance Masterplan has achieved a major milestone with the appointment of internationally renowned masterplanning, planning and economics consultancy Prior + Partners as the lead partner in a consortium of five consultancies. Together this team are bringing diverse expertise from across the planning and development sector to deliver a Southampton Renaissance prospectus and delivery strategies which will realise a unified vision that creates a long-lasting legacy of prosperity for all.

This work is the first stage in a longer-term programme for planning and delivering new development in the city, and Prior + Partners’ consortium were the standout candidates from over 25 applicants who strongly contested the bid to become key partners in this stage of the programme.

The 90-strong Prior + Partners team work across disciplines to unlock the potential of places and communities, and are recognised for leading some of the UK and globe’s most complex regeneration projects, from city-wide transformation plans focused on investment, delivery and growth, to site level masterplans and development strategies. Recent work in the UK includes supporting local authorities and their partners in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Cambridge. Prior + Partner’s wider team includes The Place Bureau who will support a creative programme of engagement, viability and property specialists Newsteer, civil engineering and mobility experts Civic Engineers, and Stockdale as cost consultants.

Landowners, major employers, and our universities are all key members on the Southampton Renaissance Board, working together to make Southampton an ambitious, proud, pioneering, global destination that nurtures and inspires diverse talents, creativity, and innovation, encouraging investment and sustainable green growth.

The Southampton Renaissance Board will work alongside Prior + Partners’ consortium through the Southampton Renaissance Masterplan to put the spotlight on Southampton’s great prospects for investment and its consistent ranking in the top five performing cities in the PwC Good Growth for Cities Index, securing fifth in 2023, along with appearing in a list of the top 50 best cities in Europe.

The Southampton Renaissance Masterplan will help to showcase the strong regeneration momentum within the city, with the Bargate Quarter scheme restarting soon and expecting to deliver much needed new homes, new commercial space and a new spotlight on the North Wall in 2026.

The University of Southampton have appointed Kier Southampton to begin the delivery of the North East Quadrant development on their Highfield Campus, one of the centrepieces of the University’s major estates transformation, and as market conditions are forecast to improve, Chapel Riverside promises to complete its final phase as well as planning consent being granted for a new ‘co-living’ scheme at Royal Crescent Way while the planning application for Town Quay has recently been submitted for consideration.

The Southampton Renaissance Board and Prior + Partners’ consortium will be shaping the future of our vibrant and dynamic city, uplifting the ambition for future economic development and regeneration and through the prospectus will identify key investment opportunities for delivering comprehensive regeneration across the city, celebrating the unique qualities of Southampton, from the aspiration to create a world class waterfront, to the redevelopment of the heart of the city and transformation of the Station Quarter, uplifting the city as a whole, and bringing in new jobs, new businesses, and people.

Jason Prior, Chief Executive Officer at Prior + Partners said:

"Southampton has played an extraordinary role in our nation’s history, with the City’s significance continuing today through its amazing location on the south coast, the remarkable working port, along with its leading role in supporting education, innovation and enterprise.

Our team are incredibly privileged to play a role in the continuation of Southampton’s powerful story, and we look forward to working with the local community and esteemed representatives of the Southampton Renaissance Board to unlock the full potential of what is one of Western Europe’s greatest waterfront opportunities.’’

Councillor Sarah Bogle, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said:

“Southampton’s people can be proud of our city, it has internationally renowned maritime, medical, education, and professional services and is regarded as a hub for innovation and emerging technologies. It sits at the heart of the £2 billion Solent Freeport; it is the UK’s biggest port and Europe’s no.1 cruise port. Its universities support graduate start-ups and spin-out companies, and it has an international culture that hosts sports, festivals, music, and other events all year round. The Southampton Renaissance Board will capitalise on the opportunities within these wide-ranging investment interests and provide the support needed to deliver them for Southampton.”