1,200 jobs on the cards for South Yard

Over 1,200 jobs will be created as part of the Council’s ambitions for Devonport’s South Yard.


Important heritage buildings will have a part to play in the exciting new future for the 23-acre site which is to be transformed into marine industries production campus.


Plymouth’s Cabinet is meeting on 9 December to approve the terms of the transfer of the site from the Ministry of Defence to the Council in a crucial chapter of the Plymouth and South West Peninsula City Deal programme.

This means the detailed negotiations can continue between both organisations, so that the land transfer can move forward.


Council leader Tudor Evans said: “This whole scheme is about creating jobs – hundreds of them – and the council wants local people to seize the opportunity with both hands.”


“It’s a unique opportunity to create somewhere businesses can work and test new products right on the edge of deep water. They need staff at all levels.


“It is also really important to us that the historic buildings on the site play in helping us deliver this exciting new facility. 


“We’ve made great progress to open up this important piece of land which could see over 1,200 jobs created. It’s a complicated process but we are getting a really good feel for what could go where within the yard and the preparation and infrastructure work needed ahead of businesses signing on the dotted line.


“This project will have massive spin-offs for the entire city.”


The report to Cabinet asks the Council to commit £5 million from its investment fund to continue the extensive preparation work needed to transform the area into a thriving production campus for cutting-edge marine technologies such as remote-controlled dive vessels, energy-efficient ships, ocean survey developments, marine science research, marine construction as well as more traditional marine activities such as boat building.


The report also details a ‘direct development’ package being proposed which involves creating suitable specialist facilities on the campus in the first phase of work.


Councillor Evans added: “This means we want to create facilities at the entrance of the yard which will have the right facilities, such as office, design suites, labs and training rooms for technology development and prototypes production, so that businesses can move straight in.”


The direct development package proposal is to use £1m from the Council’s investment fund together with a £1.5m New Growth Deal 2 grant and a £3.1m loan from Growing Places.


The Cabinet paper outlines information from the masterplan and the public consultation as well as a timetable of when work on particular sections of the site is expected to happen.


Commodore Graeme Little said: “This site has played a part in the history of Devonport and I am pleased with the progress that we are making towards being able to make an assessment of the feasibility of the proposed deal in Spring 2015.

“We are now in a position, having had considerable support of the planning consultants and other stakeholders, to assess the implications of the transfer plan and ensure that in moving forward the plans are consistent with the enduring operational requirements of the Royal Navy and the Naval Base.”


The outline planning application for the site has just been submitted (and a separate release will be available with more detail). It will seek approval for over 10,000m2 of existing building floor space to be converted for employment use and proposes over 15,000m2 of floor space in new buildings.

It is likely that the first phase of development will begin in 2016.

Key listed and other heritage buildings including the current museum and old fire station buildings and the historic docks will be refurbished and reused as part of the scheme. More details will be unveiled at a later stage.