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I WOULD like to highlight that works to improve the public realm around the Station Quarter will begin today.

The improvement works will change the landscape around the station, giving the area a much fresher look and help create a hub of activity for business and visitors to the city, as well as creating up to 350 jobs.

A new taxi rank, bus interchange, crossing points and sensible routes to other areas of the city will not only enhance the look and feel of the area, but provide safer travel options to and from Central Station.

As a destination, Southampton has previously lacked focus around the station and the area currently does not support the kind of image we want to promote for the city.

It should provide an important welcome to our city, and the area is critical for the development of local business, the promotion of jobs and for growth.

We also want the north side of the Station Quarter to be inviting to residents too. Council officers, as well as myself and fellow Bargate councillors, Sarah Bogle and John Noon, have been working closely with the local residents and businesses to ensure that the scheme has support among residents, who view this scheme as a great opportunity to improve the area.

The Station Quarter Farmers Market, which was launched last year, is also one example of how the council is supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs to help the area to further prosper.

The market has already attracted great support and has a host of regular customers, and, incidentally takes place again on Saturday, February 15. I would encourage people to make a visit if they have not already!

I look forward to seeing the revamped area when the first phase of works is complete in October 2014, as I’m sure you and your readers will too.

COUNCILLOR MATT TUCKER, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Leisure Services.