Published November 2012, Southampton Magazine Issue 3
Just eight months on from the conference, work on the first phase of the city’s new Central Business District is beginning to take shape.
The Station Quarter
With more than five million trips made annually through Southampton’s Central Station, the planned public realm improvements will create an arrival experience fit for a major city, including much improved way-finding, a better transport interchange and new public spaces.
James Prowse of the Future Southampton Group (FSG) commented, “Southampton Central Station is a key gateway to the city and is, for many, their first impression of Southampton. FSG have highlighted this as an essential area of investment for the city and a priority to attract further investment to the local economy. A scheme that successfully manages the mix of transport needs, is intuitive to navigate, and makes a fantastic first impression, is a challenge to achieve and we are delighted that this ambition is being realised.”
The programme of improvements has already started. A new entrance to the south side of the station, new retail and ticketing facilities, and extensive public realm improvements were opened by the Secretary of State for Transport in June 2012. The work was funded by £1.6 million from the National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP) and £800,000 from the council.
Speaking on behalf of the NSIP Board, Tom Smith, Chairman of the Association of Train Operating Companies said, “The NSIP is a great example of what the industry can achieve by working together. Train companies and Network Rail have worked closely with a range of local groups to ensure that improvements made to the station reflect passengers’ needs and expectations, while delivering value for money.”
Jake Kelly, Customer Service Director for the South West Trains and Network Rail alliance added, “This improvement project has given Southampton Central Station a greater presence in the region and will encourage more passengers to travel by rail to work and for pleasure. The vastly improved modern facilities we’ve added will make passenger journeys more comfortable.”
Major changes are proposed to the south of the station based around a remodelling of Western Esplanade and Mountbatten Way. This will create major development sites adjacent to the station and police headquarters.
Phase I will see a substantial development opportunity which will include a new boulevard link to John Lewis, a station hotel, serviced office accommodation, retail opportunities and new homes all centred around a new station square. This will provide a catalyst for further development across western gateway, linking the city centre to Royal Pier and the waterfront.