THE grandest redevelopment ever proposed in the 76-year history of Southampton Civic Centre has been unveiled.
A glass complex at the north-west wing of the home of the City Council is the centrepiece of plans for a multi-million-pound museum celebrating Southampton's history.
To emphasise the city's maritime history a water channel would cascade from the Enclosure sculpture at nearby Watts Park to the new Southampton Heritage Centre.
The three-storey extension - built across reclaimed park land - will house four permanent and temporary exhibitions focusing on the history of the docks and dynamic inventors, plus a cafe and restaurant.
More than 150,000 visitors a year from across Britain would visit the centre, according to a feasibility study seen by the Daily Echo.
Council leisure chiefs are keen for the first phase of the major tourist attraction to open in 2012 in time to host an exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster.
The Heritage Centre is seen as integral to transforming Northern Above Bar into a world class arts quarter, with construction due to begin on the £4.6m Guildhall Square and £13.1m arts complex.
Councillor John Hannides, Cabinet member for leisure and culture, stressed the concept was only in its early stages but demonstrated the council's lofty ambitions.
"This is a bold and visionary project intended to give Southampton an iconic national visitor attraction that will do justice to the unrivalled heritage offering that this city can boast," he said.
Click links below to see the proposals