SOUTHAMPTON City Council is today celebrating a massive funding boost for its new £21m arts complex.

Arts Council England announced this morning the council would receive a £1.2m grant between 2015 and 2018.

It means a 266 per cent increase from the £340,000 it received between 2012 and 2015.

The cash is expected to help fund the running of the city's new arts complex that is due to open in 2016 - in addition to a £7.2m grant Arts Council England provided to help building costs.

Council leader Simon Letts said he was delighted at the news.

He said: “This is to support artistic endeavour in the city. When you are starting a new venue you it helps to have this support and what it does is give us the capacity to develop a lot of new and exciting things. It also means we will not have to be subsidising it with council taxpayer money so everyone is a winner.”

He added some of the funding would go towards other city art projects.

The complex will include an art gallery, two theatres, a dance studio, media and film facilities and educational spaces and will create up to 300 jobs.

Meanwhile there were also huge gains for Winchester Theatre Royal and The Point theatre in Eastleigh, with the latter awarded £367,187 to improve its facilities and sustainability.

John Hansard Gallery, which will be part of Southampton's art complex, received a £70,000 increase to £1.34m while the Theatre Royal will get £400,000, up from £270,000.

The Nuffield Theatre will get £180,000 over the three years to fund repairs and upgrade its lighting, sound and flying equipment - on top of a total £1.6m investment.

Art Asia, Artswork Limited, and the Turner Sims Concert Hall have all had their grants reduced by around seven per cent.

Phil Gibby, South West area director for Arts Council England said: “We are very pleased to be welcoming The Point into the national portfolio. Their work to develop talent in the sector is exceptional and their skills at community engagement mean that audiences locally and further afield benefit from the high quality experiences they create.

“We are also delighted to be making The Point an award of £367,187 from our National Lottery funded capital programme towards improving their facilities and creating a sustainable.” On the Nuffield grant he added: “This award will help The Nuffield carry out the essential work needed to produce high quality contemporary theatre for audiences in Southampton and further afield. By investing £180,000 through our National Lottery-funded Capital programme, we are helping to secure the future for the organisation.”

In total 12 organisations in Hampshire and the Solent area will share £6.7m over the three years.