Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton city arts scheme plans submitted

The arts complex in Guildhall Square
Image caption Work is due to begin on the arts complex in 2012

The creation of a new £21m arts complex in Southampton has moved ahead with the submission of a planning application.

Developer Grosvenor has been working with Southampton City Council to design a 100,000sq ft arts complex and restaurant space in the city centre.

Jimmy Chestnutt, chief executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, called the application a "significant step".

Work is due to begin on the site in the early part of 2012, with the main structure completed by 2013.

The project, on the site of the former Tyrrell and Green department store building alongside Guildhall Square, was originally due to be completed in 2008 but was hit by the recession and property slump.

It will form part of the city's cultural quarter, which will also include the Sea City Museum - set to open in 2012.

Council leader Royston Smith said the completed cultural quarter would draw in tens of thousands of visitors a year and create about new 300 jobs for residents.

The latest plans also include six restaurant units and 29 flats, while the arts complex will include auditoria, studios, a performing arts space, a contemporary art gallery and film and media facilities.

The city council was awarded £7.2m from Arts Council England in 2010 to build the new cultural complex.

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