A new restaurant, housing, and community space could be created at a former Wilko store in a bid to boost regeneration.

The owner of the Shirley Hotel and former Wilko store - along with the two neighbouring units - in Park Street, Shirley, has announced plans for a new redevelopment of the site.

The developer wants to bring jobs, affordable homes and a bar or restaurant, or offer a large commercial space for use.

The developer said: "The aim of the new plans is to deliver a high-quality sustainable scheme which responds well to the surrounding area, while making the most efficient use of the site.

"Sadly, Shirley has continued to struggle in recent years, particularly since the pandemic.

"We are keen that this scheme creates a new destination and acts as a catalyst to bring further investment into the area.

"In recent years shops have closed and the range has reduced.

"We have already had some interest from a food retailer, but we're keen to hear what else residents would like to see."

The current manager of the Shirley Hotel is said to be supportive of the new plan.

Since the closure of the Wilko store, there has been no interest in the current site, but there has been commercial interest in redeveloping the area.

The proposed redevelopment will include:

  • Residential apartments including affordable homes.
  • New large commercial premises on the ground floor.
  • A potential community space.
  • A sustainable development utilising the latest car club concepts and EV technologies.

Leader of the Conservative opposition at Southampton City Council, Cllr Jeremy Moulton, said: “It’s good to see a redevelopment coming forward but it needs to be the right one.

“Parking will be a concern for local people and there is a strong feeling in the community that the frontage of the Shirley Hotel should be retained or reflected in the design, as the pub has a lot of history and character.”

Before a planning application is submitted, residents are invited to a drop-in event to view the plans and leave feedback on the proposal.

The event will take place in the Shirley Baptist Church between 3pm and 7pm on Thursday, November 16.

Residents have already begun suggesting their ideas for the new site.

One resident posted on Facebook: “The Shirley Hotel should be retained along with the façade of the Regent Cinema, if that is part of this development too.

“Shirley struggles for an identity so the last thing that needs to happen is for a significant historical building to be demolished.”