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£70m scheme for University of Southampton student halls in city centre
A PROPOSED flagship office development to headquarter a major international firm in the heart of Southampton could now become a £70m village for 1,000 students.
Developers, in partnership with the University of Southampton, want to build three blocks of student flats up to 15 storeys high at the boarded up Mayflower Plaza site off Commercial Road.
The student village, complete with a gym, small supermarket, 400 cycle racks and basement parking, would face the council’s Civic Centre and new £15m SeaCity Museum.
Plans for an £80m development of 180 apartments, a striking seven-storey office block and hotel, called Mayflower Point, were given the go-ahead by councillors nearly four years ago. But a failure to find tenants for the offices has left it on the drawing board.
Osborne Developments and landowner Terrace Hill will tomorrow launch a consultation on plans for the university development, dubbed Mayflower Halls, before they submit a planning application in the spring.
Osborne development director David Sarson said: “Being close to the station and the bus link to the main university campus make it particularly suitable for student accommodation and we would expect a boost to the local economy as a result.”
Caroline Court, from Southampton University, which has 23,000 students, said it was committed to increasing the number of hall places.
She said: “This site with its excellent transport links is ideal. It is altogether fitting that the university returns to having a presence in the city centre, where it was originally founded 150 years ago.”
Nigel Wakefield, from Terrace Hill, said the development would “create a catalyst for further regeneration of the area”.
City council leader Councillor Royston Smith said that more student accommodation, easing pressure on family homes in the city, was welcome but the design would need to be “sympathetic” with the council’s new SeaCity Museum.
The V-shaped site – bounded by Havelock Road, Commercial Road and West Park Road – stood empty since the 1980s and was demolished in 2003.
Terrace Hill bought it for £7.4m in 2007.
• A public exhibition of the plans will be held at the Mayflower Theatre from 11am to 5pm tomorrow and from 9am to 11am on Saturday.