Exhibition to showcase Better Places plans for city centre revamp

Plans will go on show next week as part of a multi-million-pound project to transform the open spaces and pedestrian areas around the city centre.

Plymouth City Council has committed £27 million over the next five years to the Better Places project to improve the look and feel of the city centre’s main thoroughfares. The aim is to boost visitor numbers and trade and ensure the city centre looks its best in time for the Mayflower 400 celebrations and beyond.

A public exhibition will take place between Thursday 15 March and Saturday 17 March at 35 New George Street.

It will feature an overview of the wider proposals for the city centre and a closer look at specific streets and public areas which could form some of the first phases of work.

Concept ideas being unveiled will include major improvements to New George Street and Old Town Street to support the major investment taking place in the area – and linking the new Drake Circus Leisure Development at Bretonside with the Drake Circus mall and the city’s main shopping streets.

Ambitious proposals for how Armada Way could be revitalised as a vibrant city boulevard, a destination in its own right and providing a clear connection between the city centre and the sea, will be outlined. Plans for the section from Royal Parade to the Hoe will be shown as a possible first phase for improvement.

Initial ideas for enhancements to the West End of the city centre would be aimed at improving the physical and trading environment for retailers and visitors to the area and making it a better place to live for existing and future residents of the area.

The exhibition follows the appointment in autumn 2017 by Plymouth City Council of a design-led consultant team behind some of the UK’s most impressive regeneration schemes.

Team members will be on hand to talk visitors through the display and people will be able to share their views on the day and online as the design team continues to work with Plymouth City Council in developing and refining the project.

Council Leader Ian Bowyer said: “Better Places is an exciting rejuvenation project for our city and comes at a time when we are already seeing significant investment and building work taking place across a range of development and infrastructure projects.

“We are very pleased that the Better Places team is now able to share its ideas and we look forward to inspiring people with the potential for the city centre, getting as much feedback as possible and continuing to work with the design team, the public and our stakeholders to finalise the proposals.”

The Better Places project is looking at all streets and spaces in the city centre to improve walking and cycling routes, make areas more attractive for shoppers and visitors as well as encourage more inward investment in retail, leisure, employment and housing into the heart of Plymouth.

The consultant team – led by WSP and LDA Design – includes South West and nationally based architects, designers and engineers responsible for work on high-profile projects including the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Battersea Power Station redevelopment, the Prince of Wales’s Poundbury development and the 2017 Sterling Prize-winning Hastings Pier.

They have been working alongside the Council’s own team in taking visions and principles already outlined in the City Centre Masterplan and Joint Local Plan and turning these into detailed projects, the first stages of which will be going on show as part of the exhibition.

LDA Design Board member and project lead Robert Aspland said: “In preparing these proposals we have already been working very closely with local retailer groups and stakeholders. There is clearly a real sense of the opportunity through Better Places to reenergise tired parts of the city centre and its public spaces, make it a more attractive destination for shoppers and visitors and help stimulate economic activity and investment.

“We hope as many people as possible will come along to the exhibition to find out more about the proposals for their city centre and to share their views with us as we look to move forward with this exciting project.”

The exhibition takes place at 35 New George Street – between Tesco and House of Fraser – from Thursday 15 March to Saturday 17 March

Opening times will be:

Thursday 15 March – 2pm to 8pm
Friday 16 March – 10am to 4pm
Saturday 17 March – 10am to 4pm
More information and the opportunity to leave comments on the proposals will also be available from March 15 at www.plymouth.gov.uk/bigbuild/betterplacesplymouth

Consultation on the proposals will run until Thursday 26 April.