A NEW multi-million-pound luxury car showroom has moved a step closer to opening in Southampton.

Car giant Aston Martin has lodged a planning application for a showroom on the former Ford site.

Under the plans, the company wants to build a ‘state of the art’ showroom, workshop and associated facilities totalling 1,300sq m.

A statement from HNW Architects, the planning consultants for Aston Martin said: “The proposals will benefit and protect the economy and employment opportunities, and substantially improve facilities for the company’s existing highly skilled workforce across all levels.

“This scheme has been developed to ensure that the site can be developed to provide a new, high profile and prestigious showroom for Aston Martin.”

Aston Martin confirmed it had lodged a planning application but declined to comment further.

The news comes after developers Mountpark revealed that 1,200 new jobs would be created at the former Ford site in Swaythling following a £100m redevelopment.

The development has already attracted a number of names including contact lens manufacturer Cooper Vision, who are moving their packaging operations from Fareham, and commercial laundry specialists Berendsen, who are opening a new cleaning hub to be closer to the cruise ship market.

Murray Health will relocate from its current base in Chandler’s Ford.

Sandeep Sesodia, chair of the Southampton Business Board at the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce said: “This is another fine example of the investment taking place in Southampton leading to the development of industrial sites which in turn is creating welcome jobs in the area.

“Southampton as a city is gaining economic momentum and going from strength to strength.”

Councillor Simon Letts, leader of Southampton City Council, said: “It’s good to see Aston Martin having confidence in Southampton.”

Previously, Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith had campaigned for Aston Martin to base a production facility for its new hybrid four-by-four DBX vehicles at the site, but lost out to St Athan in South Wales.

Mr Smith said: “The plan shows that Aston Martin has confidence in the economy and in Southampton in order to open their showroom here.

“Although we were unsuccessful in persuading them to open their factory here, the fact that we were able to form a relationship with them can have done no harm when they came to make the decision on the showroom.”

The original Ford factory off Wide Lane in Swaythling was closed in 2013 after Ford revealed controversial plans to move production to Turkey, leading to the loss of 500 jobs.