Admiral’s Quay Development Approved

Admirals Quay PromenadeBack in January (17th Jan) HGP architects were granted planning consent to complete the Admirals Quay development. A statement on their website reads:

The site will now realise its full potential as an exciting mixed-use development situated on the marina, giving the City a waterfront destination to be proud of. The design proposal is focused around three high quality buildings, the western one (Building 1) being 26-storeys, the central one (Building 2) 16-storeys and the eastern one (Building 3) 9-storeys. An elevated terrace between buildings 1 and 2 provides an exciting area with provision for up to 8 restaurants and seating spilling out onto the promenade, with residents enjoying a high landscaped terrace at the second floor level. The development primarily focuses on the marina frontage and creates plenty of opportunity to relax and enjoy the views.

The tallest residential tower will act as a landmark and will be the beginning of a new skyline for the City of Southampton, while the surrounding public space will give more of a human scale and will help the area to become a real destination.


In 2007, part way through construction, the developer behind the Admiral’s Quay development fell victim to the financial crash, went bankrupt and work on the development ceased. This unfortunately resulted in a large section of Ocean Village being left derelict and an eyesore, with “temporary” hoardings becoming a permanent fixture.  In October 2011, after a fairly lengthy saga, which you can read more about on our Big Issue: Admiral’s Quay page, an entirely new development plan to complete Admiral’s Quay, drawn up by HGP architects (who designed the 170m Spinnaker Tower and Sails of the South in Portsmouth) was submitted by Allied Developments to Southampton City Council. This proposed a residential 28-storey tower, which would be the tallest building in Southampton, along with two smaller blocks, providing a total of 299 homes. This £74m scheme also included the provision of an additional eight restaurants and bars.  HGP said that they had taken the opportunity to reassess the remainder of the site to ensure that what was built best met the needs of Ocean Village today.

It’s taken us rather longer to examine the details than we would have liked but here, finally, is an extract of the full (and very lengthy) planning document which will hopefully provide you with a good overview of the plans. We have edited text where necessary to make it more readable as an extract but have endeavoured to ensure that the original meaning is preserved. Numbers inside square brackets indicate the location of the text within the complete document. The complete document is also available for download.

The application planning reference is: 11/01555/FUL

The proposal outline is for: Erection of three buildings of 9-storeys, 16-storeys and 26-storeys to provide 299 flats (37 x 1-bedroom, 225 x 2-bedroom and 37 x 3-bedroom) and 2764 square metres of commercial floorspace, comprising retail (Class A1) and/or cafes/restaurants (Class A3) and/or drinking establishments (Class A4) with associated storage and parking.

Full details of the plan and all associated support documents can be found on the Southampton City Council Planing website.

Extracts from the Planning Consent Document

Reason for granting Permission

The Local Planning Authority is satisfied that the application site on the waterfront is an appropriate location for tall buildings and that the detailed design treatment is satisfactory […] would not have a detrimental impact on the setting of listed buildings nearby or on the character and appearance of the adjoining Canute Road Conservation Area.

The site and its context

[1.1] The development known as Admirals Quay is the site bounded by Channel Way, Ocean Way and Canute Road. A predominantly residential development, with two ground floor bars/restaurants, has been built following previous planning permissions, within five buildings ranging in height from four storeys to ten storeys. The current application relates to the south western part of the Admirals Quay site, an area of approximately 1 hectare which is a vacant site, partly used for car parking, but also includes a single-storey building formerly used as a sales office but now occupied as a cafe and beauty salon. The application site extends up to the Ocean Village Marina and is accessed from Ocean Way which is a privately owned and maintained road.


[2.1] The application proposes to develop the last remaining part of the Admirals Quay site with a residential development above ground floor commercial units. Three new buildings are proposed: a 26-storey building at the south-western end of the site (Building 1 – overall height 80 metres AOD); a 16-storey building in the central part of the site (Building 2 – overall height 46 metres AOD); and a 9-storey building at the eastern end of the site adjoining the completed part of Admirals Quay (Building 3 – overall height 27 metres AOD). The only existing building on the site, the single-storey cafe building will be demolished.

[2.2] The development would provide 299 flats of which the mix of units would be 37 x one bedroom, 225 x 2 bedroom and 37 x 3 bedroom units. The existing number of flats at Admirals Quay is 292, the previous planning permission would have taken the total number to 522, the current proposal would increase the total number of flats to 591. The commercial units to be provided at ground floor level would be used for retail purposes (Class A1) or restaurants/cafes (Class A3) or drinking establishments (Class A4). The total floorspace of these units is 2,764 square metres. 8 commercial units are proposed ranging in size from 112 square metres to 372 square metres.

[2.3] The proposed external materials for Buildings 1 and 2 are: a mixture of glazed curtain walling; oxidised copper panels; silver grey ‘Trespa’ cladding; terracotta rainscreen cladding; glazed balconies; grey powder coated windows and louvres to the ground floor units. For Building 3 the materials would be similar to that of the completed part of Admirals Quay: render and red facing brickwork, grey aluminium windows, glass and stainless steel balustrades and balconies.

[2.4] Vehicular access would be in the same position as at present with access from both Ocean Way and Channel Way. Car parking would be provided as a continuation of the existing ground level car park for Building 3, with an additional level above. For the other buildings, the vehicular access would be from the Ocean Way end of the site with car parking beneath the building at lower ground floor level and surface level parking at the rear of the building. The total number of parking spaces is 265 for the flats (i.e. an average of 0.89 spaces per flat) and 37 spaces for general public use. Servicing for the commercial units and refuse collection would be at the rear of the buildings from the existing car park.

[2.5] The proposal incorporates pedestrian routes through the site as previously approved: a raised footpath link between two of the buildings connecting the marina to Canute Road and a walkway alongside the marina. In addition, there would be a raised outdoor seating area for the restaurants at the south-western end of the site which would be accessible by both steps and a ramp. The amenity areas for the flats would be in the form of private balconies and shared outdoor areas between the blocks above the commercial units and car parking as carried out on the earlier phase of the development.

Consultation Responses and Notification Representations

[5.2] The comments opposing the application can be summarised as follows:

  • The proposals are not in the long term interests of Ocean Village or the city generally.
  • A 26-storey building would be too tall and would become a blot on the skyline.
  • Tower blocks are not attractive places to live.
  • Such tall buildings would cast long shadows particularly in the winter months 
making the marina a dark and dismal place to live.
  • There would be a loss of light and privacy to adjoining occupiers.
  • Will exacerbate existing traffic problems in the area which is a significant issue 
every weekend.
  • There is already a surplus of small flats in Southampton – this increased 
number will result in additional buy-to-let properties and student occupation 
which which would be out of character with Admirals Quay.
  • There is not the demand for this number of additional restaurants in the area.
  • The area lacks the necessary infrastructure such as health services, 
supermarkets, car parking etc.
  • 299 additional flats would exacerbate existing parking problems – there is 
already a lack of practical and affordable parking. The location of the multi-
storey car park is not convenient for residents and visitors.

[5.3] The comments supporting the application can be summarised as follows:

  • There is a definite need for additional retail, restaurants and flats to improve the vibrancy of the area.
  • The proposals would further enhance the Ocean Village area and improve the experience for residents and visitors.
  • Would provide additional employment opportunities and an increase in more affordable small flats for sale.

[5.4] English Heritage Comments

The cafe building currently on the site undoubtedly contributes to the character of the dock area: it is now one of the few survivors from its industrial past and creates valuable human scale. This building merits at least adequate recording if it is not to survive

[5.5] Southampton City Council Heritage Team

The impact on the conservation areas near the site will be one of quality of design and selection of materials […] The detailed discussions on the final palette of materials will take place after the decision is made. It will be these details that ultimately determine whether the building will be a successful landmark structure or merely a tall building adjacent to the water.

[5.6] SCC City Design Team
The proposal offers a suitable scale and quality of development that will enhance the legibility and ‘sense of place’ of Ocean Village as one of the few locations in the city where currently the public can enjoy the waterfront.

[5.13] City of Southampton Society
The traffic problem is more serious than the plans imply. At peak times when there are cruise ships in port, the congestion is quite serious and 30 extra vehicles per hour could cause chaos. The height of the build at 26 storeys is too high – probably not acceptable to the aviation authorities since aircraft approaching the airport usually fly north up the River Itchen. 20 storeys would be more acceptable. We would recommend a public viewing platform at the top of the tower to be included in the proposals.

[5.14] Southampton City Council Highways – The principle of this form of development has been established by previous approvals on the site. The increase in the number of flats, compared to the previous approvals is not sufficient to have a material impact on traffic flows.

Planning Consideration Key Issues

[6.3] The residential accommodation provides a mix of unit sizes but with an emphasis on two bedroom flats. The number of 3 bedroom family sized units (at 12% of the total) is below the city wide target of 30% but the policy does allow for this target to be varied depending on the established character of the neighbourhood and the viability of the scheme. As this is a city centre location and the accommodation is within tall buildings this reduced amount of family housing can be justified, particularly as the last planning permission included only two family sized units out of 230 flats.

[6.5] In terms of the detailed design, the proposal continues the theme set by previous approvals with three distinct buildings linked with two levels of commercial space at ground and upper ground floor levels. Building 3 at the eastern end of the site is of a similar footprint, size and shape to that of the 2007 approval. This is because of the need to limit the impact on the adjoining block of flats. Further away from the existing buildings, proposed buildings 1 and 2 adopt a different treatment in terms of building shape and particularly external materials. These two buildings would be taller than the previous scheme but would be more slender in profile and with a wider separation between them. The footprint of building 1 has been amended and as a consequence would relate better to both the adjoining open space and as an arrival feature when entering the Ocean Village estate from Canute Road.

[6.7] Transportation – This is a city centre site which is well served by public transport and can therefore accommodate a high density form of development of this nature. The previously approved development was for 230 flats and the increase in the number of flats now proposed (69 extra) would not have a significant impact in traffic terms. The Council’s highways team are satisfied that the level of trips to the site can be accommodated without adverse impact on the city’s highways network.
[6.8] In terms of car parking provision, the existing development at Admiral’s Quay has provision of slightly less than one space per dwelling. A significant part of the site also includes public car parking on a ‘pay and display’ basis. The previous agreements were that a total of 150 parking spaces would be available as public car parking for visitors and users of the marina facilities. 113 such spaces have been provided and the remaining 37 public spaces will be provided as part of this application. The level of parking provision for the new flats, 265 spaces for 299 flats is a similar proportion as the last permission. Although the car parking standards have recently been revised, these new standards do not cover the city centre area where the former Local Plan standards continue to apply. A strict application of those maximum standards would mean that 172 spaces could be provided. In these circumstances the amount of car parking proposed is considered to be acceptable.

[6.11] The taller buildings would cast a longer shadow at certain times of the year but the orientation is such that the marina promenade and other public areas would still receive adequate sunlight. The 4 -storey block of flats which adjoins to the north would be affected to some degree but there would also be some improvements for these neighbours due to the change in the orientation of Building 1 and the increased gap between the buildings which will provide for an improved outlook across the marina.

[6.12] Regeneration – The proposed development offers significant regeneration benefits to this part of the city centre. The application site is something of an eyesore and is surrounded by hoardings. Completing the development would enhance Ocean Village as a visitor attraction, incorporate public realm enhancements and provide both jobs and new housing.

The applicant has made it clear that no affordable housing provision will be possible (the normal policy requirement of 35% would mean 105 affordable units should be sought).


The redevelopment of this important site will make a major contribution to the regeneration of this part of the city centre and add significantly to the vitality and viability of the Ocean Village waterfront. The completion of the Admirals Quay development in a similar form to the original concept is welcomed. A publicly accessible waterside location is an appropriate location for tall buildings. The design of the development is appropriate for its context and the setting of adjoining listed buildings and the conservation area would be adequately addressed. The highways and servicing arrangements are acceptable and the pedestrian environment will be significantly improved as a result of the new public realm treatment.


01) APPROVAL CONDITION – Full Permission Timing Condition – Physical works

The development works hereby permitted shall begin not later than three years from the date on which this planning permission was granted.

04) APPROVAL CONDITION – Hours of work for Demolition / Clearance / Construction [Performance Condition]

All works relating to the demolition, clearance and construction of the development hereby granted shall only take place between the hours of;

Monday to Friday 08:00 hours to 18:00 hours (8.00am to 6.00pm)

Saturdays 09:00 hours to 13:00 hours (9.00am to 1.00pm)
And at no time on Sundays and recognised public holidays.

Any works outside the permitted hours shall be confined to the internal preparations of the buildings without audible noise from outside the building, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

23) APPROVAL CONDITION – Safety and Security measures (Pre-development condition)

No development shall commence until a scheme of safety and security measures, including CCTV equipment, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved measures shall subsequently be implemented in accordance with the scheme before the development is first occupied unless otherwise approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

24) APPROVAL CONDITION – Hours of Use – food/drink establishments [Performance Condition]

The food and drink uses / drinking establishments hereby permitted shall not operate (meaning that customers shall not be present on the premises, no preparation, sale or delivery of food or drink for consumption on or off the premises) outside the hours of 0730 to midnight on any day.

25) APPROVAL CONDITION – Delivery times (Performance Condition)

No deliveries to the commercial premises hereby approved shall take place outside the hours of 0730 to midnight on any day.

35) APPROVAL CONDITION – Relocation of historic plaques (Pre-Occupation Condition)

The development shall not be first occupied until the existing historic plaques have been relocated on the site in accordance with details to be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.