Work starts on £500m Woolston quay development
Work has started on a controversial £500m housing and leisure development.
The Centenary Quay area, in Woolston, Southampton, is set to be redeveloped to include over 1,600 homes, offices, a hotel, and create more than 1,000 jobs.
Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles attended a launch event earlier on Wednesday.
Residents have argued the area would not be able to cope with increased traffic and a number of new-built apartments in the area remain empty.
Mr Pickles, who posed for photographers at the site with a spade to mark the start of construction work, hoped the development would "act as a catalyst" to improve the whole area.
"Rather a lot of public money has gone in to making the site safe, decontaminating the land and the like," he said.
"This is going to take a number of years to complete and you can't built houses on the basis of what the current market is, and I think this will be something people of Southampton will be proud of."
The site had been home to shipbuilding since the mid-19th Century, which was taken over by Vosper Thornycroft from 1904 until the business relocated to Portsmouth in 2004.