Leader of the Council, Simon Letts, writes:
When Labour took control of the council in 2012 we inherited some very glossy plans for the City, but little was happening on the ground. Our first job was to persuade the business community that Southampton was the place to invest in. We understood that only by renewing itself would the city be able to provide the jobs of the future for our people. We needed to make Southampton a place people wanted to visit and spend money in.
We showed our commitment to the creative industries (one of the growth areas in the economy during the recession) by completing the New Arts Complex on Guildhall Square. The restaurants and bars are already open, and the arts complex will open this year, starting with our hosting of the British Art Show in the newly-relocated John Hansard Gallery in October 2016.
We secured the funding for Watermark West Quay through hard negotiations with the Government. This will not only create an estimated 700 new jobs, but will also deliver a beautiful piece of public open space showing off our superb the city walls and linking the city centre back to the waterfront. This major new entertainment complex will open by the end of the year. Some big developments have either concluded or are in the last phases of development, for example the Admirals Quay development in Ocean Village, the Ordnance Survey site conversion to housing, and the huge Centenary Quay development in Woolston. These along with other sites like the old Meridian site, the fruit and veg market and the old City Depot site alongside the Itchen Bridge, will provide the homes local people need.
Even if you don’t need a home or a job all this is good news for the City as the extra business rates and council tax will allow us to keep services running despite a further 25% cut in our government grant this year. Southampton has an historic past and a fantastic future. We are the capital of the South, its premier city, and we march on.