One of the seven VIP projects in the city’s Master Plan, Itchen Riverside holds so much potential for development it will have its own blue print and be marketed as a new neighbourhood for Southampton.
The banks of the River Itchen have a long and fascinating history of early settlement, land reclamation and water dependent employment. Industries such as ship building and repair, the manufacture of quicklime and metal castings and the recycling and import of construction materials established themselves along the river and many are still thriving today.
The emerging Itchen Riverside Master Plan will offer developers and potential occupiers a clear insight into the way Southampton City Council would like to see the Itchen Riverside VIP project unfold in the coming years.
Brownfield regeneration specialists Inland Homes will be developing the former Meridian TV Studios site on the River Itchen to create a striking gateway into Southampton and they are also working in partnership with the council to transform the former council depot site, Chapel Riverside, which is close to the Itchen Bridge.
Mark Gilpin, Planning Director for Inland Homes explains to Southampton Magazine why Inland Homes are very keen to participate in the future of Southampton.
FROM TV STUDIOS TO RIVERSIDE LIVING
A long-held dream to bring greater public access to the city's waterfront looks set to be realised with the development of the former Meridian TV studios site that adjoins Northam Bridge in Southampton.
Inland Homes, who specialise in unlocking the potential of challenging sites, have announced their intention to build 350 new homes on the gateway site - and they will create public access to the waterfront along with a park for residents and visitors to enjoy.
"As you enter the city centre across Northam Bridge you will be greeted by this green space that everyone can access.
"There will be apartments nearest to the river and traditional two storey houses behind" enthused Mark.
He has had to draw on all of his 20 years experience as an architect to overcome the highways and flooding issues that must be resolved to make investing in the former TV studios site add up.
"We buy most of our sites unconditionally and that means we have to be entrepreneurial in our approach.
"Our aim is to lift the character of the area and have a clear focus in our strategy to bring everybody along with us," said Mark.
To make Meridian Gardens a reality, Inland Homes has needed to work closely with Southampton City Council and Mark said there was already a clear understand of what needs to be achieved.
"For us as a business we like the way Southampton City Council is bringing sites forward and the fact we can talk to them. It makes Southampton a good place for us to do business.
"The Meridian site is significant because along with Chapel Riverside, it will kick-start the transformation of the Itchen Riverside.
"And our absolute priority is to make the waterfront available to the public".
GOING TO THE CHAPEL
A site that holds historic clues to Southampton's past is set to play a key role in the city's plans for the Itchen Riverside.
In more recent times, a council depot was housed on the land but archaeological finds reveal that the site was inhabited since the Iron Age, and possibly as far back as prehistoric times.
Now the site will be a catalyst for change along the Itchen Riverside.
"This will be a fascinating project for us and one that will be unique for our business," explained Mark.
"This will be a true regeneration scheme that will ultimately allow people to have good access to the waterfront.
"The vision for the site is to have stunning new homes and attract commercial activities especially in the marine sector to make the most of the waterside location.
"We are keen to speak to companies and organisation with a genuine interest in bringing their business or operation to this site - we want to hear some different ideas."
Challenges the team must overcome include responding to the archaeology of the site; determining what to do about giant water tanks and raising the level of the land to provide flood defences.
But Mark and his team are positive these can be overcome and they anticipate applying for planning permission by spring 2016.
"Commercially it is a good time to be in Southampton and the right time to buy into schemes like this.
"We like being in Southampton and we are very keen to participate in the future of the city.
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