PLANS for a multi-million pound new ferry terminal in Southampton could be given the green light this week.

If it goes ahead, the new Red Funnel terminal would be the first part of the proposed £450m Royal Pier development to get approval and kickstart the rest of the waterside complex.

However some have raised concerns over the size of a car park at the site which has been described as an "ugly monster" while Associated British Ports (ABP) has also objected to the plans.

Tomorrow night city planning chiefs will meet to decide whether to approve the plans, which would allow work to begin later this year if approved.

As previously reported, moving the current Red Funnel terminal to the Trafalgar Dock is the vital first step of the entire Royal Pier project.

It will free up a key plot of land that will allow the rest of the leisure and housing development to be built.

The plans for the wider complex - which include 730 homes, 50 shops, bars and restaurants and 47,000sq m of office space - are currently being considered by city council planners and a decision is due later this year.

If those plans are approved the development will also contain a super casino, high-end market, arts and culture "hub", four or five-star hotel and spa, a 2,000 space car park and an expanded Mayflower Park.

As reported in the Daily Echo last week, the fundraising campaign for a £4m monument to the Spitfire in Mayflower Park has also now been launched.

But the current Red Funnel terminal must be moved before anything else can be built, and the planning and rights of way panel meets at the Civic Centre at 6pm tomorrow to consider the plans.

The ferry operator and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership bid for £15m of Government cash for the project, while it is also set to upgrade its terminal in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

The total cost of the new terminal is now estimated to be £33.5m.

The terminal plans went before the public last year, with the Royal Pier Waterfront company saying they would create "a better transport network will enable development opportunities on both side of the water to come forward by freeing up vital land".

Daily Echo:

An artist's impression of what the new terminal could look like

The plans would see a pump house at the dock knocked down to make way for the new 2,123sq m terminal building that would contain two cafes and an outdoor terrace There would also be a four level car park with 357 spaces, bus stops and a marshalling area to allow vehicles waiting for a ferry to be marshalled.

A variety of other smaller buildings would also be added such as two electricity sub-stations, a foul pumping station and storage areas.

Red Funnel says the new terminal will make its services more efficient and allow all of its ferries to be gathered in one place, as well as improving the experience for customers and better parking facilities.

A shows the current location of the terminal and B shows the proposed location of the new terminal

However there have been concerns raised about the proposed car park, which has been described as "an ugly monster of a car park and a terrible blot on the landscape of the Town Quay area".

Six representations have been made about the plans, which also include concerns over the new building's impact on the environment.

White Horse Ferries, which operates the Southampton to Hythe ferry, has voiced concerns about passengers having a greater distance to walk and that there could be "conflict" between its services and the Red Funnel car ferry.

Port operator ABP is objecting "due to concerns about traffic and transport and pedestrian access", saying it would place "considerable pressure" on ABP and its customers in the eastern docks.

And city-based cruise giant Carnival UK says the new building would require existing facilities next to Ocean Terminal to be provided when the current ones are lost while it has "concerns about traffic management and potential traffic congestion at peak times at both Dock Gate Five and the wider city traffic network".

Daily Echo: A previous artist's impression of the Red Funnel terminal building. The design has since been changed.

Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith said: "I am very hopeful that the scheme gains an approval and can move forward.

"I do however have concerns about the location of the multi-storey car park and I hope that even at this late hour that issue can be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

"We have all waited a long time to see a redeveloped waterfront and planning approval will bring us one step closer to that ambition."

Despite the concerns planning officers have recommended that the panel approve the new terminal subject to a number of conditions.

They include funding improvements to access to Dock Gate Five and Orchard Place as well as a taxi rank and other drop-off facilities at the new building and traffic controls on the internal port road network.