TODAY is decision day for £40m plans to create hundreds of student flats in Southampton.

Sladen Estates and Britel Fund Trustees Ltd will face planning bosses tonight over their plans to create more than 180 flats on the former B&Q site in Mayfield Road.

The firms say their proposals would also see the creation of more than 400 jobs while construction work takes place on the site in Swaythling and eight jobs once it is completed.

The site is now vacant after B&Q closed its store on the site after its lease was not renewed by the landlord. The firms propose to replace it with a mixture of three-, four-, fiveand six-storey buildings.

They would contain 525 student bedrooms divided among a mixture of flats and studio apartments.

It would also contain a community cafe on the ground floor and an outdoor plaza.

City council planning officers have now recommended that the plans are approved by the council’s planning panel tonight.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Sladen Estates’ Charles Fish said: “We have spent a great deal of time designing our plans and we believe the scheme can deliver these apartments in an attractive manner and appropriate manner, regenerating a prominent site that is currently lying vacant.”

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If planning permission is granted the developers say that the new complex could be ready for students to move in next September.

B&Q opened its first ever store in Portswood Road in the 1960s before opening its Mayfield Road outlet 28 years ago.

Last month the company announced the closure of 60 branches across the country over the next two years, putting hundreds of Hampshire jobs at risk.

Eight stores in Hampshire are under threat, although the Daily Echo understands the company, owned by Kingfisher, is unlikely to shut either the Nursling or Hedge End outlets.