WORK to demolish the run-down Weston Shopping Parade, in Southampton, has begun.
Builders have moved on site to start knocking down Weston Lane Shopping Parade.
Within two years, the 1960s buildings will be replaced with a new £10million housing and shops development. It will also provide a new library and community space, more than twice the size of the previous library on the site.
As previously reported by the Daily Echo, plans to knock down the dilapidated parade were announced last year.
City council bosses approved the plan put forward by French giant Bouygues Development, which will see 70 new homes created.
They will be divided between 40 apartments for private sale, and 30 affordable flats which will be managed by Spectrum Housing.
There will also be a new home for the Co-Op which had previously been part of the parade, two other retail units and 98 car parking spaces.
The council has put £600,000 of funding into the project, while the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has ploughed in £844,000.
Builders from contractor Hughes and Salvidge started work on the site yesterday, and will strip out the parade over the next two weeks.
Then demolition work will begin in earnest, and construction work is set to begin in the spring.
Bouygues says the new development will be complete by the summer of 2015.
Throughout the work, hand-painted hoarding boards created by the Weston Church Youth Project will be put up around the site.
While work takes place at the site, Weston Library will be temporarily housed in Chamberlayne Leisure Centre.
The council’s Labour housing boss and Woolston councillor Warwick Payne said: “Providing a new shopping parade and homes for Weston, along with a community space and library, should breathe new life into the area and be a big improvement on what was there before.”
Bouygues’ head of regional development, Tom Jelley, said: “Our shared vision is to create a vibrant hub for the local community to live and work.”
And Spectrum Housing’s group director, Jitinder Takhar, said: “We are really excited about our partnership with Bouygues and Southampton City Council and are pleased to be able to help provide much-needed housing in Southampton.”