IT IS decision day for plans for a £33.5 million new ferry terminal in Southampton.

Ahead of a meeting to decide the fate of the plans, the operator of Southampton’s port has now withdrawn its objection to the proposals.

Associated British Ports (ABP) had objected to the proposals for a Red Funnel terminal that will go before planning chiefs tonight (Tues, Jan 19).

If approved, the relocation of Red Funnel’s current terminal to Trafalgar Dock will free up space for the long-anticipated £450 million Royal Pier development.

As reported in yesterday’s (Mon, Jan 18) Daily Echo the plans, which include a 2,123sq m terminal building, two cafes and a multi-storey car park, are recommended for approval at tonight’s planning and rights of way panel meeting.

The approval of the terminal plans would be the first step in the redevelopment of the crumbling Royal Pier site, which was wrecked in two fires in 1987 and 1992.

Red Funnel and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership bid for £15 million of government funding for the new terminal, with the total cost set to be about £33.5 million.

However, there were some concerns raised over elements of the scheme, with some residents labelling the car park an “ugly monster” and ABP and Carnival UK objecting over traffic concerns.

Before the meeting, developer RPW (Southampton) Ltd says Carnival has “verbally agreed” to remove its objection and ABP has removed its objection, with a spokesman for ABP said: “We have withdrawn our formal objection but there are a number of detailed design issues relating to the proposed relocation of Red Funnel that ABP needs to be resolved before the project can go ahead.

“We remain committed to working with Red Funnel and the Royal Pier development team to deliver a positive outcome for the port and the city.”

Daily Echo:

Hythe ferry operator White Horse Ferries had raised some concerns over the distance passengers would have to walk, but a spokesman for the developer said it is currently in “discussions with White Horse Ferries to address concerns over passenger facilities”.

The developer has also said plans for the proposed car park were developed alongside the city council and Historic England.

The Royal Pier plans, which include proposals for 730 homes, 47,000sq m of office space, 50 shops and a host of waterside bars and restaurants, could create 10,000 jobs if approved.

It could also contain a large casino, high-end hotel, arts and culture “hub”, car parking and an enlarged Mayflower Park containing a monument paying tribute to the iconic Spitfire aircraft.

If the terminal plans are approved at tonight’s meeting work to relocate Red Funnel’s operations could begin later this year. If the city council approves the wider Royal Pier development work on that could begin in 2018 and be completed in 2023.