AN EXPANDING Hampshire automotive firm has announced a multimillion-pound plan to open a new triple dealership on the site of a former council offices.

The Hendy Group have submitted an application to build a new Mazda, Kia and Honda dealership on land formerly occupied by Eastleigh Borough Council’s offices and the magistrates’ court.

The new dealership in Leigh Road will provide space for 27 new cars in the showrooms and the facility will also include a 20-bay workshop, space for 120 used cars on a display forecourt and separate sales tent.

Hendy Group managing director Paul Hendy said the plans represent an investment of around £9 million and the opening will be a key milestone in the company’s 157-year history.

“We have a long tradition of ongoing investment and expansion in the region and these plans represent the next phase of our history,” said Paul. “This is a really exciting time for the group and a fantastic opportunity for us to grow.”

If given the go-ahead Hendy say the new dealerships could be open in the summer of 2017.

Hendy’s application comes just a week after it announced the take-over of the Lifestyle Dealer Group which has dealerships in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

The deal means Hendy, which has its head offices in Chandler’s Ford, now operates 12 motor franchises at 25 locations across the south from Kent to Devon with annual turnover set to reach £600 million.

The Leigh Road plans are part of a redevelopment project which also includes two fast food restaurants and offices on other parts of the site.

The site, vacant since March 2014, and has been identified by the council as a prime location for commercial development because of its proximity to the M3.

In addition to creating jobs the council, which will retain ownership of the site, hopes the rent it receives will fund its move to Eastleigh House and provide an income stream to help underpin services and keep council tax down.

The earliest date that the application can be considered by Eastleigh Local Area Committee is July 19.