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ACME's Southampton shopping centre gets green-light

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ACME’s £70million shopping centre scheme for Hammerson in Southampton is set to go-ahead after being granted planning approval

Approved by Southampton City Council last night [June 24], the long-awaited project is expected to start on start later this year and open in 2016.

Plans for Southampton’s WestQuay scheme were originally submitted by Foreign Office Architects and approved in 2009. However developer Hammerson said at the time that it would ‘wait until market conditions improved’ before starting construction.

ACME, who provided the latest designs for WestQuay, was founded by former FOA architect Friedrich Ludewig.

Watermark WestQuay will include space for a 10-screen cinema, 20 restaurants and a major public piazza. The new public square located in front of the city’s historic wall has been inspired by water pools created by mudflats on the Southampton coastline and includes a unique water feature that ebbs and flows like the tide.

Guy Wells, Hammerson Development Manager said: ‘This site offers a unique opportunity to deliver an exceptional leisure and dining destination for Southampton. We have been encouraged with the level of support we have received on the scheme from stakeholders and we have worked hard with the council to create a scheme which is already generating strong interest from potential occupiers.’

Councillor Simon Letts, Leader of Southampton City Council, said: ‘I am pleased that my fellow councillors have approved the application for this flagship City Centre Master Plan VIP project.

‘The plans for the site are expansive, imaginative and inspiring.  Watermark WestQuay will add a fantastic dynamic to Southampton both visually and as a leisure hub within our city centre, providing a vast array of new dining and leisure experiences, as well as up to 500 jobs; not including the construction jobs that will come during the build phase.’

The development is immediately adjacent to Hammerson’s jointly owned WestQuay Shopping Centre, which is anchored by John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

The master plan for Watermark WestQuay will be delivered in two phases. The second phase has the potential to include a hotel, residential tower with flexibility for retail and office space.

ACME are masterplanners and architects for Watermark WestQuay, Grant Associates are the landscape designers and Barton Wilmore is providing planning advice on the project.

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