A FAREWELL public tour of Southampton’s bus depot is being held this weekend before it is flattened to make way for new homes and a superstore.

Up to 50 people will be given the chance to look around the old Portswood depot.

The sprawling site, which has been a hub for local public transport for the past 130 years, is due to close at the end of the month.

The building is home to a fleet of about 120 First Hampshire & Dorset buses and 300 staff, but is now too large and too expensive to maintain.

First is moving to a new purpose-built £15m facility in nearby Empress Road.

The old depot will make way for a Sainsbury’s superstore and 140 new homes.

A First Bus spokeswoman said: “It will be a sad moment for some when the old depot finally closes, as Portswood has played such an important role in public transport over the past 100 years.

“Many friendships – and even some marriages – were born as a result of people meeting on the site and for this reason we expect a lot of people will want to have a final look round before the depot closes forever.

“Visitors will be shown round the whole depot, including the engineering facilities, and will be able to watch a five-minute video detailing a day in the life of the modern bus operation in Southampton.”

The guided tours on Saturday will run at 10.30am and 1pm and last up to two hours. Places must be booked in advance.

Staff will be collecting charity donations on the day in lieu of a fee. All donations will be split between the Provincial Society, a charity preserving local transport history, and a charity nominated by First staff.

To book a place call the First customer service team on 0870 010 6022.