IT’S the development that could turn Southampton into one of Europe’s most exciting waterfront destinations.

City residents got to have their say on what they want the £450m Royal Pier complex to look like when ideas went on show for the first time.

The exhibition at Westgate Hall was just the latest step on the road to transforming the derelict pier site and creating a new Mayflower Park.

Current plans for the waterfront site also include a super-casino, up to 700 homes, a hotel and rows of posh restaurants and bars, and a 40m Spitfire monument in the new park.

Royal Pier Waterfront (Southampton) Ltd, the company formed by developer Morgan Sindall Investments and funders Lucent Group to deliver the development, held the exhibition to get suggestions from city residents on what they want to see there.

Dozens of residents dropped into the session to speak to members of their team and leave a wide variety of comments on what they want to see.

One of the most popular suggestions was a vastly improved Mayflower Park, which would provide better waterfront access for city residents.

Others were keen to see new restaurants and bars at the site, but some cautioned the developer to make sure the area’s roads can contain the thousands of new residents, visitors and customers that the development would attract.

The city council, which is working alongside the developer, will begin its own consultation on Wednesday, and the developers hope to be able to put forward designs in the autumn, which will be accompanied by fresh consultation.

An outline planning application will then be handed in next year, and it is hoped that the new Mayflower Park could host its first PSP Boat Show in 2016 or 2017.

Red Funnel’s ferry terminal would be relocated from its current site to berth 50 in Town Quay next year or 2016, and work could begin on the first buildings in 2016 or 2017.

Charles Forsyth, a spokesman for the developer, said: “We’re pleased with the turnout.

“It’s really important that people do have the opportunity to come and contribute.

“It’s very early days, and the design will come by the end of the year, but we had a really good workshop with local interest groups this week who were very helpful with their insight.

“We want to get this right – we know the people of Southampton have been waiting a very long time for this.”