WORK will begin on a stunning £50m development on Southamp-ton’s waterfront later this year after councillors gave it approval.

With a luxury four-star super-yacht inspired hotel that boasts a spa and a champagne rooftop bar, it promises to be the final piece on the jigsaw to transform Ocean Village into a major attraction after plans for three plush apartment towers were earlier approved.

Councillors on Southampton City Council’s planning committee praised the “exquisite” and “exciting” development, six out of the seven, voting in favour of it.

The 76-bedroom hotel and spa, which will jut out into the marina, will be the first phase of the plans, complete with a restaurant and 12 luxury duplex flats sitting on top of the hotel.

Bosses at MDL Marinas, which is behind the scheme dubbed “Southampton Harbour Hotel”, want to bring in a Michelin-starred chef to set up one of the restaurants.

The second phase will see a second, residential building built next door, providing 82 flats, which will be up to ten storeys high and include a mix of shops, cafes, restaurants and offices, plus a basement car park.

Gavin Hall, director of planning at Savills, the planning agents for the developers told the committee that this development would “bring the life back” into Ocean Village and be the realisation of a long held ambition for the area. He added that work would wait until after the Olympics and start in the autumn. The project is expected to be completed within three years.

Councillor Edward Osmond said: “I strongly welcome this development. It is long overdue. It will be a major attraction for people both within Southampton and outside. This is a great scheme.”

However Councillor Carol Cunio voted against the scheme. She said: “I am not that happy with this scheme. I think it is too much building. We already have empty restaurants and flats on the other side, so I just don’t see the point.”

Council leader Royston Smith said: “This without question underlines the confidence of investors and developers in Southampton; that this is the place they want to come to.

“It will finally finish off Ocean Village and in doing so create hundreds of jobs.”