Market Way is looking miles better, thanks to an improvement scheme that’s totally transformed a popular walking route in to the city centre.
The area at the top of Market Way next to Western Approach has gone from drab to fab. Instead of a steep and unattractive concrete ramp, there is now a series of gentle ramps and steps with handrails.
There is also a central level seating area and a raised terrace to support commercial uses on the ground floor of the former Comet Building. New paving has been laid, attractive street lighting installed as well as tree, shrub and ground cover planted to create a much more welcoming and open feel for people walking into West End of the City Centre.
The development has two large tree pits which capture rainfall and use it to irrigate the new trees. This helps reduce the risk of flooding during high rainfall events and this work has been assisted by the European Union through its Interreg 2 seas Water Resilient Cities project.
Plymouth City Council worked in partnership with Aspire Student Living 3, the developer of the former Comet building at the corner of Mayflower Street and Market Way, and have shared the costs of the scheme which has delivered nearly half a million pounds worth of improvements.
The work, which began in January this year, has proved challenging. The contractor Plymouth-based Creative Construction had to deal with a spider’s web of services close to the surface and poor ground conditions which hampered the build.
As well as improving access and providing a safer, more attractive pedestrian route into the West End, the Council hopes that the improved appearance will encourage further investment in the city centre.
Councillor Mark Lowry, who has responsibility for the city centre and finance said: “This is a big improvement . This used to be a steep, uninviting ramp but now which people used to struggle to walk up. Now it’s welcoming, attractive and we’re already seeing more people use it more
“We’d like to thank local residents and businesses for their patience and understanding through the construction process. It’s a great example of what can be achieved when the private and public sector work together. With more improvements to the West End, we hope more people will take advantage of all the great things that are on offer here.”
Richard Pillar, Managing Director of Aspire Student Living added: “This is a significant improvement to an arterial route in to the West End. We have already seen a significant increase in the foot traffic of people now using this route in which will hopefully support better trade to the area.
“Traders and residents have had to deal with a great deal of disruption throughout this period, we have worked hard to keep this to a minimum and we would like to thank them all for their patience.
“Special thanks must go to Plymouth City Council Planning Department for thei assistance with the design and making sure this happened and the contractor Creative Construction who have been fantastic in dealing with the many problems experienced on site.”
Steve Hughes, chief executive of the Plymouth City Centre Company, said: “This investment in the West End, combined with the recent Plymouth Market refurbishment and the £50 million development of the old Derry’s building, will provide a huge boost to our West End traders and help us to attract more shoppers and visitors to this special part of the city centre.”