SOUTHAMPTON’S long-awaited Royal Pier development has passed another important milestone.

The signing of a development agreement between landowners and the developer means the £450m plans have moved another step closer to reality.

As previously reported, the scheme is the latest in a series of plans for the disused site which have been put forward over the past decades.

The current plans, drawn up by RPW (Southampton) Ltd feature a super-casino, luxury hotel, restaurants and bars, flats and an extended Mayflower Park.

And as well as creating almost 7,000 jobs, both the developer and Southampton City Council say it will create one of the nation’s most exciting seafront destinations.

RPW (Southampton) is a joint venture company owned by Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd (MSIL) and financiers Lucent Group.

The owners of the Royal Pier site, the city council, Associated British Ports (ABP) and the Crown Estate, have now put pen to paper on the conditional development agreement formally handing over responsibility to carry out the plans to RPW(Southampton).

Public consultation is set to be carried out later this year, while a planning application for the development will be prepared.

Labour council leader Simon Letts said: “We are very excited by these proposals.

“The Royal Pier waterfront development is the flagship project in our overall plan to further enhance our city’s reputation as a first-class destination to live, work and visit.”

And ABP port director Nick Ridehalgh said: "We understand how important the Royal Pier site is to the future development of the city’s waterfront. Given this, we welcome the completion of the development agreement.”

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