COULD it be third time lucky for plans to rejuvenate Southampton’s derelict former Meridian television studios?
A developer has launched the latest plans for hundreds of new homes on the prime site, near the Northam Bridge.
Inland Homes’ plan is the third blueprint for the site in seven years, after two previous schemes collapsed.
The developer wants to build up to 350 homes there and create new public access to the Itchen riverside.
For decades it was the home of local television news as ITV contractors, Southern, then Southern Television and Meridian, were based there.
But in 2008 the bulldozers moved in to knock down the buildings after a controversial £4.5 billion merger between Carlton and Meridian owners Granada resulted in a decision to close the site, with the loss of 175 jobs.
Since then, Surrey-based Oakdene Homes bought the seven-acre site and planned to build a £100m complex containing 500 apartments, commercial space and a 27-storey tower.
But Oakdene went into administration in 2009, and the Royal Bank of Scotland’s commercial property wing West Register then took over the site.
West Register had drawn up plans for 250 homes, a ten-storey residential tower and 400 sq m commercial and leisure floorspace, but that was shelved and now Inland Homes have bought the site.
As well as 350 one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments, the firm will include commercial space in its plans.
Mark Gilpin, planning director at Inland Homes, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop this gateway site for Southampton.
“We are conscious that the city council and community have seen successive developers bring forward schemes that have not been delivered. We are determined to produce a high quality residential-led development that will unlock opportunities along the River Itchen and deliver strategic flood defences for Southampton.
“This development will be sympathetic to the character of the local built environment and will provide a high quality landscaped area and enhance public access to the riverfront.
“Inland Homes is committed to working with the local community. This is an important site and local people need to know that this development will enhance the area. Residents will have the opportunity to comment on the proposals at a public exhibition by July and we intend to submit a planning application in late September.”
Discussions between Inland Homes and the city council are now ongoing, with the percentage of units that will be affordable housing yet to be decided.
Labour council leader Simon Letts welcomed the news, saying: “Our preference is to maximise the amount of housing that goes on this site and therefore we will be in discussions with the developer to ensure that the plans that come forward allow us to do that because this is an ideal site for housing.”