SOUTHAMPTON city centre could be transformed thanks to a major cash injection as the Government made a U-turn on a funding scheme.

The city is one of a further 50 areas shortlisted to benefit from the £1 billion Future High Streets Fund.

As reported, Southampton City Council (SCC) had bid for its share of the funding but its application had been unsuccessful.

But on Monday the Government announced that Southampton is among those cities across the country who will benefit from an extra £325 million added to the Future High Streets Fund.

The city will receive up to £150,000 to develop its bid and could be eligible for up to £25 million to improve the High Street.

As reported, SCC said the money could be used to open historic buildings, such as the Bargate, to the public and connect the area from Westquay across to the new Bargate development and down to Debenhams.

The cash could also be used to further enhance the opening up of the city walls and bring forward new uses beyond retail.

Details of how the money could be spent have not been revealed yet but it is understood SCC and its partners will have between six to 12 months to develop a full business case.

The value of the bid will then be determined, with the majority of the awards expected to be in the region of £5m-£10m per town centre.

As reported, the city council partnered with Go!Southampton, the Business Improvement District (BID) for the city centre, to bid for the Future High Streets Fund.

The BID’s chief executive Giles Semper said: “To say that we are over the moon to hear this news would be an understatement. Southampton city centre has the potential to be completely transformed and this funding is a vital first cog in getting the wheels turning.”

He said the BID will now be working closely with SCC and the Government to develop the proposal.

Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith described the news as “excellent”.

“I have been making the case to Government since our disappointment in the first round and I am pleased they have responded so positively.”

Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP praised the “bold and wide-ranging vision” put forward for the centre of Southampton.

He said: “Southampton’s bold plans look to meet the needs of an increasing population and expanding workforce by upgrading and developing its centre, repurposing buildings to create a new and vibrant community.” SCC was unable to provide a comment before the paper went to press.