Plymouth is gearing up for Mayflower in 2020 with a series of incredible projects that will ensure the city looks its best in time for this landmark year.
A number of big projects which are worth a total of £175 million will get into full swing in the New Year and will transform parts of the city centre in time for this momentous occasion. As well as the Drake Leisure development at Bretonside, landscaping improvements will be coming forward to better link the city centre with the waterfront area.
Over in the West End, more investment is being planned following on from the market’s multi-million pound makeover.
Work is already underway to landscape Market Way and a team whas been appointed to look at improvements to the public spaces around the West End (this will be announced shortly).
Significant progress is also expected on the 1620 hotel overlooking the Hoe with contractors due on site in the New Year.
Further announcements about the boulevard between Millbay and Colin Campbell Court development are also to be unveiled in January. Other smaller scale projects are also in development including historic Mayflower trails.
A traffic order is being published (18 December) to give people notice of some of the changes that could affect how they travel in and around the city centre.
The first includes the closure of part of Bretonside from the roundabout between Vauxhall Street and the entrance to the old coach station site near the Royal Bank of Scotland.
This will start from 22 January. This route will only be accessible for site traffic, clients of Gard and Co solicitor’s office and the education centre. Two short term car parks on this road will close.
The main route to the Barbican via Vauxhall Street will not be affected. Access to Bilbury Street overlooking the development site will remain as will access to How Street, which remains one-way.
Pedestrians are being warned that the southern Exeter Street pavement directly above the former bus station, together with one bus stop on this side will also be closed from 12 February. This will allow steel work to be erected on the site and the footpath will remain closed for 11 months. The footpath on the other side of the road will be open.
Deputy Leader of the Council Patrick Nicholson said: “We have been pushing hard to attract investment into Plymouth and in time for Mayflower 400.
“It is an opportunity to showcase Plymouth on an international stage and we need to be ready for it. The long term gains for city are fantastic, particularly for the growing visitor market but there may be some short term inconvenience while this happens.
“We are working with all the developers to make sure that businesses, visitors, commuters and shoppers are affected as little as possible.”
An operational team has been set up with key figures from the Council, the City Centre Company and Plymouth Waterfront Partnership to tackle any issues that arise and to keep the city moving.
The team aims to ensure the developments are co-ordinated as far as possible to lessen the impact of construction. It aims to provide advance warning of any changes to the road network and diversions as well as tackle any issues.
Changes to the roads around Charles Cross, which will help access to the new complex at Bretonside and the Box, the new £37 million gallery and museum complex on North Hill are also on the cards and will be carefully co-ordinated.
Councillor Nicholson added: “I’m not sure Plymouth has seen building and investment on this scale since Abercrombie’s Plan.
“We are also looking at excitement next stages for the Millbay and Colin Campbell Court schemes and there are also some great buildings being transformed – the old department store at Derry’s Cross, for example.”
“We will be doing our utmost to make sure that those who work and live in and around the city centre know what is going on.”
Steve Hughes, Chief Executive of the Plymouth City Centre Company, said: “The City Centre Company is delighted to see so much public and private sector investment in the city centre. It’s a real sign of confidence in Plymouth and will help us and our partners attract new business and visitors.
“Clearly there will be some disruption from so many major schemes but the long term gain is there for all to see and will greatly enhance the city’s reputation as a major retail and leisure destination.”
Sarah Gibson, Chief Executive of the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership added:“We warmly welcome the investment in Plymouth’s City Centre and Waterfront areas. We will have a busy few years ahead and there are likely to be some disruptive works though it’s fantastic to see development on this great scale. Plymouth deserves this investment and we look forward to welcoming more opportunities for business, more jobs and an even better lifestyle for both residents and visitors alike to enjoy.”
Gary Cramp, Operations Director, McLaren Construction Midlands and North said: “Working closely with the operational team within Plymouth City Council and communicating to the wider city community, we hope that this will enable this complex cinema development to be a successful addition to the city centre and for use by the wider community.’’
For details of all the developments and their progress visit www.plymouth.gov.uk/TheBigBuildUp