Plymouth’s shopping heartland is to get a new look as the city gears up for a new wave of visitors to come flocking in.
Exciting plans to transform Old Town Street and the upper end of New George Street have now been given the green light by the city’s planners as Plymouth gets ready for the opening of not one, but two, major developments.
The countdown is now on for the opening of the £50 million Barcode complex with a 12 screen Cineworld cinema, 15 restaurants and bars, while next year, the Box, Plymouth’s epic new cultural attraction, which will house art galleries as well as museum exhibitions and archives collections will open.
Cabinet Member for Finance and city centre champion Councillor Mark Lowry said: “We’re on the cusp of massive change in the heart of Plymouth.
“We’re now counting down the weeks until these projects open and few cities will be able to offer visitors and residents so much in one place.
“These projects are game changers, we need to make sure that people who come to the city centre to enjoy these new attractions are impressed with what they see at all points of their day. Making sure the spaces around these key new developments are attractive, modern and look good, is vital.”
Key features includes:
• Better connection between Drake Circus and Drake Circus Leisure and the rest of the city centre
• Space for on-street retail – British Land are proposing a number of new pavilions
• New modern seating
• A more attractive setting for existing retail
• New tree planting carefully arranged to allow clear sightlines to shopfronts.
• Improved public realm that promotes pedestrian priority.
Ageing street clutter will be cleared and the feel of the street ‘refreshed’ so that the city can continue to attract investment from the world’s biggest retail brands.
The programme is a collaboration between British Land (who own Drake Circus, The Barcode and the blocks which houses House of Fraser and Debenhams) and Plymouth City Council, with the Council carrying out the public space improvements as part of the Better Places programme and British Land improving and expanding the retail offer in Norwich Union House and providing new Pavilions in the streets.
The new look will see more trees and gardens planted to make the most of Plymouth’s 20th century modernist architecture. Spaces will also be created to encourage small events and places to linger or meet up and new play space.
David Pollock, Head of Major Retail Developments at British Land, said: “We are pleased to be working with Plymouth City Council on improving this key public space and repositioning parts of the retail offer around Drake Circus Shopping Centre and the new Barcode leisure complex. The work will serve to enhance both the existing offer and the new development which is due to open to the public in a matter of weeks.”
The work is expected to begin next year.