Southampton City Centre
|Southampton City Centre|
The historical Bargate in the city centre.
Southampton City Centre shown within Southampton
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Southampton Test|
Southampton City Centre is the commercial and organisational centre of the City of Southampton, and the transport hub of the city. Because Southampton is on the South Coast of England, the city centre is not at the geometric centre of the city, but at the southern extremity.
The traditional heart of the city is the High Street, which runs from the Town Quay to the Bargate, which was once the northern gateway to the walled city. As the city grew, this primary commercial area spread to the north of the Bargate, into Above Bar Street. Subsequent reclamation of land from Southampton Water to the west of the High Street meant further expansion in that direction, forming an area now known as West Quay and dominated by the modern WestQuay shopping centre. When it opened, WestQuay was the largest city-centre shopping centre in Europe, with around 100 shops.
The main shopping district of the city is centred around Above Bar Street (part of which is pedestrianised), London Road, High Street and East Street.
There are several indoor shopping centres in the area, namely West Quay, The Mall Marlands (formerly named Marlands Shopping Centre), Bargate and EaSTreet. As an attempt to ensure the whole city centre is not dominated by chain stores, the city council have designated East Street a "speciality shopping" district. West Quay retail park, not to be confused with the similarly named shopping centre, is also located in the city centre. The Mall Marlands was opened on 5 September 1991. It currently has a branch of Matalan as its flagship store, and in 2005–2006 the centre was revamped By adding an improved entrance at Above Bar Street and a new information desk. The shopping centre formerly featured a series of fountains but these had to be put out of service due to health and safety reasons in late 2005.
On 12 February 2009, Swedish furniture retailer IKEA opened its 18th British store, on West Quay Road.
East Street Shopping Centre
East Street Shopping Centre, branded EaSTreet, is Southampton's earliest surviving indoor shopping centre. The centre was built at the eastern end of East Street and blocked off the street itself as it was built over the top of it.
The centre was constructed in the 1970s and due to its location – outside the main city centre shopping district – it has never been commercially successful. As well as the shopping centre, the development includes a large office tower, rooftop car park and the Royal Oak pub. The centre was originally anchored by Comet Electrical and Courts furniture store, however the demise of this chain in the late 1980s/early 90s left mainly independent shops and empty units in the centre. A Tandy electronics store (Later T2 Retail) was part of the centre until the early 21st century but again, this store chain no longer exists and the unit is now empty. One of the longest established shops in the centre was Teville's music shop which was one of the only musical instrument shops in the city (after the brief arrival and swift demise of nearby SoundControl. The other music shop is Beckett's on Commercial Road, near Central Station). Now the sole occupant of East Street Shopping Centre is a SCRATCH outlet. SCRATCH is a charity, which is based in Southampton.
The centre is, pending planning, to be bulldozed and replaced by a flagship Morrisons supermarket. The scheme has the backing of Southampton City Council and will, as part of the process, restore the link between East Street and St. Marys. It is hoped that this will regenerate the East Street area, bring in shoppers from the St Marys district and break the monopoly that Asda hold, concerning supermarkets in the city centre. The scheme is planned to bring in 400 new jobs and thousands of new shoppers into the city centre.
Bargate Shopping Centre
The Bargate Shopping Centre, named after Southampton's prominent Bargate landmark, was opened in 1989. The centre focused on being a collection of specialist outlets rather than a mainstream shopping centre, and boasted a number of technology-related stores, a nail salon, a photographic studio and a Sega Park arcade.
It is set out over two levels and to a very simple design of a single mall leading to an atrium although there was an internet cafe on the lower ground floor of the atrium. Also off this atrium is the largest unit in the centre, once occupied by the Sega Park arcade. The Bargate Centre also contains a multi storey car park.
Unlike a lot of shopping centres from this era, the Bargate Centre never had a major refurbishment.
While it lacked the mainstream popularity of the nearby WestQuay and The Mall Southampton shopping centres, the Bargate Centre was popular with teenagers due to the alternative fashion stores and Sega Park.
A local newspaper reported in 2009 that the Bargate Centre was to be demolished, along with the nearby Debenhams store. The Bargate Centre site would be converted into a covered street, with a new Debenhams store incorporated into it, and the existing Debenhams store would be replaced with a residential tower block. However, the plans were since scrapped and the Debenhams store underwent a multi-million pound revamp in 2011.
In January 2013, all traders inside the Bargate Centre were given notice to leave their premises by BNP Paribas Real Estate, who are attempting to sell the complex. BNP Paribas Real Estate were appointed by the Receivers for Parkridge (Bargate) Ltd, the company who bought the Bargate Centre in 2009. Parkridge (Bargate) Ltd were liquidated in late 2011 after running up major losses.  BNP Paribas Real Estate stated that the complex had remained open at a "significant loss" for months and closure was required to stem these losses. They also stated some tenants were not being charged any rent for their premises. By mid-April 2013, all remaining tenants had vacated their premises. The Bargate Centre and its multi storey car park finally closed on 10 June 2013.
The Marlands Shopping Centre was opened on 5 September 1991. At the time, it was the largest shopping centre in Southampton and the first significant shopping centre in the city (East Street Shopping Centre being well out of the way of the main shopping district hence never being very successful and the Bargate Centre being much smaller), however it is now dwarfed by WestQuay, which opened in 2000.
The Marlands Shopping Centre was constructed to an extremely PostModern design, which was described at the time of opening by one critic as looking like "something made of Lego". The Centre was built on the site of Southampton's bus station (the city is now without such a facility), a popular rose garden and some terraced housing. Some of the facades of the houses were retained and form an interesting part of the centre's atrium.
The centre is laid out across two levels, with escalators connecting them at the North West entrance and escalators and glass lifts connecting them in the atrium, at the South of the centre. Unlike most of its contemporaries, the Marlands Shopping Centre does not contain a car park of any kind – the designated car park for the centre is accessed by going through Southampton's unusual ASDA supermarket which is on a slope – you go in on the ground floor and come out on the tenth floor – and across a bridge.
West Quay Retail Park
The West Quay Retail Park is an out-of-town style retail park, but located within the city centre. It includes a number of large warehouse-style stores, currently occupied by Toys "R" Us, Mothercare, Argos, Tesco and Staples among others. The retail park also has a small food section, occupied by McDonald's and T.G.I. Friday's IKEA, and is also the location of Southampton's geothermal power plant.
West Quay Shopping Centre
Branded WestQuay, this shopping centre has an area of 800,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of retail space (74,000 m²) and contains around a hundred shops, including major retailers such as, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Zara, Schuh, Waterstone's, Benetton Bank, Apple, and many more top brand names.
It is situated in the centre of the city, close to the docks, with entrances on the main High Street (Above Bar Street), on Portland Terrace, through Waterstone's and through John Lewis. There is also a built in multi storey car park with an entrance into the centre along with a 3 tier car park beneath. Building work began in 1997 as the former Daily Echo building, two large office blocks (Arundel Towers) and Pirelli Cable Works were demolished to make way for the centre. The centre was opened on 28 September 2000.
Southampton Central railway station is located in the north west of the city centre area, with the old Southampton Terminus in the south east. There is also a new coach station on the West Quay retail park, a short walk from the railway station. Ferry services operate along Southampton Water to Hythe and Cowes.
There are two main termini for bus services. As the biggest operator, First uses stops around Pound Tree Road, and occupies a lot of space there. This leaves the other terminal of West Quay available for other operators. Uni-link passes West Quay in both directions (except the U2 which terminates at the Civic Centre), and Wilts & Dorset drop passengers off there, terminating at a series of bus stands along the road. Once back in service, buses turn round and pick up passengers at West Quay again. Certain Bluestar services also do this, while others stop at Bargate and some loop round West Quay, stopping between Bargate and Pound tree Road. Brijan Tours services also stop at Bargate.
- "Things to do in Southampton, UK". Local Service Guide. Retrieved 6 July 2008.
- "Museums – Visit Southampton". Southampton City Council. Retrieved 6 July 2008.
- Southern Daily Echo Article, Written by Simon Carr 24/3/11, Retrieved 3 June 2011
- Lambert, Tim: A brief history of Southampton (Accessed 22 February 2007)
- "Bargate Shopping Centre". Retrieved 25 February 2009.
- Law, Peter. "Southampton's Bargate Centre and Debenhams store to be demolished". Southern Daily Echo. NewsQuest Media Group. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Smith, Matt. "Multi-million pound revamp for Southampton's Debenhams store". Southern Daily Echo. NewsQuest Media Group. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Reeve, Jon. "City Shopping Centre Face Closure". Southern Daily Echo. NewsQuest Media Group. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- Reeve, Jon. "Buyers 'lined up' for Bargate Mall". Southern Daily Echo. NewsQuest Media Group. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- Knox, Patrick. "City Shopping Centre Boarded Up". Southern Daily Echo. NewsQuest Media Group. Retrieved 13 June 2013.