Southampton City Council is accelerating its ambitious plans to create a more vibrant and welcoming environment for everyone living, working, studying, and spending time in the city.
The package of government funded schemes will create a family-focussed city centre that improves community, economic and cultural life through enhancing public spaces within the city.
The city centre has seen significant investment in recent years, delivering new housing, retail, and leisure opportunities, reflecting the changing needs of residents and visitors, and adapting the dynamic of the city centre, to support vibrant, award-winning day and night-time economies. The long-term vision, currently being shaped through the draft Local Plan, is to create a progressive and liveable city centre in line with other cities across the country. One that is safe and well connected to attract more tourists. The additional green spaces and better travel options for all will build a sense of community amongst users, whether that’s families enjoying quality time outdoors or commuters finding cheaper ways to get to work.
Councillor Eamonn Keogh, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport commented: “Southampton often misses out on key funding, so pleased that Government has recognised the importance of helping to fund infrastructure changes within Southampton, that will make it easier, safer and more accessible to get to and around our city.
The UK’s most successful cities, have already transformed their city centre to allow it to become better connected, which has led to more visitors and dwell time in local shops. We want to follow suit, so here in Southampton, our plans will upgrade our public spaces and make them safer, while better showcasing our incredible heritage, and a city centre we can all be proud of and enjoy.”
In the heart of the city centre, plans are being progressed for an urban park and new bus hub at Albion Place. This will create a new green space within the heart of the City Centre, whilst helping to provide a safer and more convenient passenger experience for bus users by creating a multi-modal interchange.
The park will create the first public green space within the Old Town for almost 60 years, transforming the Castle Way car park into a green park that will celebrate Southampton’s rich heritage and past experiences. The bus hub will feature new waiting facilities and travel information, using high quality public realm materials and will improve passenger safety with improved lighting and CCTV.
To prioritise access for buses to the new Albion Place bus hub, Portland Terrace will become bus/cycle/taxi only from Spa Road to the Shopmobility site.
It has been just over three months since work started on the south side of Central Station, a project progressed in close partnership with South Western Railway, who are contributing £1.3 million along with government funding. The improvements will create an improved gateway at Southampton Central Station, improving the interchange for everyone including cruise passengers.
Northern Inner Ring Road scheme continues following the footway improvements, road resurfacing and the Charlotte Place roundabout widening which introduced a third lane at the East Park Terrace junction to reduce congestion in the area.
The traffic signals have been upgraded with the latest technology including new pedestrian and cycle crossings at the junction with Grosvenor Square. New on-street electric vehicle charging points have been installed at Brunswick Place and Grosvenor Square, helping achieve our commitment to a zero-emission city.
The next step will see significant improvements to the A3024 Northern Inner Ring Road junction with London Road, upgrading the signals to introduce latest technology and provide improved facilities for people walking and cycling across this junction. These works are programmed to start at the beginning of 2024. They will be followed by improvements to the junctions of Devonshire Road, Commercial Road, and West Park Road from mid-2024. Devonshire Road will be permanently closed to traffic. A pocket park will be created and a new pedestrian crossing for people walking and cycling will provide improved accessibility between the Polygon, Mayflower Theatre, and the City Centre.
Once these junction improvements are complete, the final junction along the ring road – Civic Centre junction – will see a signal upgrade across the whole junction. This will improve general traffic flow and provide priority for buses and people cycling and walking through low level signals, advanced stop lines and better detection. This will conclude the entirety of the A3024 Northern Inner Ring Road corridor signal upgrades, to make journeys more reliable and quicker and reducing congestion.
East Park Terrace will be transformed to be accessed by bus, taxi, and cyclists only to better connect the parks with Solent University by ensuring quicker journey times, more punctual and reliable bus journeys. Pavements will be widened, along with public realm improvements to create a more pedestrian friendly and pleasant environment. The scheme will create better connections to and from the City Centre for people walking and cycling, offering students more sustainable means of travel.
All the schemes are supported by existing projects such as the ‘My Journey’ sustainable transport programme and the overall ambitions of the ‘Our Green City’ programme.