RESIDENTS can have their say on a multi-million pound regeneration of Gosport’s waterfront.
Council leaders are to consult the public on plans to knock down the town’s bus station and replace it with an iconic new building opposite Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower.
The structure could house anything from a conference centre and hotel to offices or even a theatre.
Although the idea has been around for years, a cash boost from Hampshire County Council has now kick-started the proposal.
A £20,000 grant will fund a major public consultation in the next few months, giving residents the chance to say how they want the waterfront to look. While there are no detailed plans, the council says whatever is built must be ‘impressive’.
Council leader Mark Hook said: ‘It needs to make a statement. We haven’t got the final proposals yet but it will be an iconic building. We’re open to ideas. It will be designed to complement Gunwharf Quays rather than compete with it.
‘We are putting together the final proposals and then we are going to go out and show them to the public. We need to stop talking about it and start doing something.’
The first stage of the redevelopment is centred on the bus station site and is estimated to cost around £100m.
This would be paid for by developers, and would potentially include shops, restaurants, offices and homes. Under the plans there will also be no bus station with buses instead using a series of lay-bys.
The second stage is to redevelop the waterfront along Mumby Road to Royal Clarence Yard.
The entire project will take between 10 and 15 years to finish and could cost £500m.
The council said it could help create 3,000 new jobs.
John Bowles, from Sole Connection in Gosport High Street, said: ‘A hotel is a good idea. If we could get a department store to set up here it will benefit us all.’
Percy Vickers, 62, of Jellicoe Avenue, added: ‘It’s a good idea. It will be nice to see us competing with the other side. It will definitely help put Gosport on the map.’