Plymouth’s rail commuters are getting the big picture of the city’s exciting plans to create a better welcome for rail passengers.
A masterplan is on show at the station today (Tuesday) and gives a bird’s eye view of what buildings could be going up, what’s coming down and how this vital entrance to Plymouth could look in the future.
Key partners in the city are working together to create a whole new feel to this important gateway for people arriving into the city by rail – from Cornwall as well as Devon and beyond.
The University of Plymouth recently showcased by way of a public consultation, its exciting ambition to transform the tower above the station into Intercity Place. This will house inter-professional clinical skills and nursing/midwifery facilities as well as additional educational services to support the future health workforce. Subject to planning permission being granted, it will signal the first major work to rejuvenate the station and its surrounds as the anchor investor.
Now commuters can see more detail of what’s in store as the regeneration scheme moves off architects’ drawing boards and into the planning system.
Council leader Tudor Evans said: “This is a massive regeneration scheme involving key organisations in Plymouth all committed to creating a real sense of arrival – a wow – when people come here by train.
“It’s a hugely complicated scheme with lots of different elements. The university’s vision for the tower means we have an anchor tenant but we now want to know the initial thoughts of those who use the station the most.”
The masterplan would become the guiding document for decisions being taken around this location. Plans currently include demolishing the redundant rail incident safety centre (RISC building) on the east side of the station to enable a new multi-storey car park to be built.
The existing car park opposite the entrance is also earmarked for demolition and a new hotel and second university building created in its place. The masterplan proposes a new car park, almost doubling the capacity to 469 spaces, for the site of the RISC building.
Station staff accommodation will be modernised and significant new public space created including a direct pedestrian link to North Cross and the city centre.
University of Plymouth Vice-Chancellor Professor Judith Petts CBE said: “This forms an important part of the University’s ambitious estate plans which will transform the campus and reimagine university teaching and research spaces for the 21st century. The station scheme is an important part of these plans and will significantly improve this notable city landmark so that it becomes an exciting gateway into Plymouth. As a new home for allied health professions and nursing/midwifery, this builds on our already strong health credentials by making a significant investment in educating tomorrow’s health professionals for the region and beyond.”
GWR Plymouth Station Manager Sara Rogers said: “There are almost 2.5 million passenger journeys through Plymouth every year, and it is easy to see why the station is regarded as the gateway to the South West. New Intercity Express Trains, providing almost 25 per cent more seats on every train than the ones they have replaced are already in service, and from December this year we will see more frequent and faster journeys. In keeping with improved services, I am delighted rail users will now have the opportunity to see these upgrade plans and the next phase in the station’s development.”
The entire scheme is expected to cost in the region of £80 million and has already received some financial support. Through the One Public Estate, the Cabinet Office has provided £500,000 for feasibility and planning work.