One of the city centre’s biggest developments has reached a significant milestone, with terms and conditions now agreed by British Land and the Council.
The Drake Circus Leisure scheme will provide a brand new 12-screen cinema, restaurant complex and car park on the tired Bretonside bus station site, transforming the eastern gateway to the city centre.
As part of the agreement, British Land will also make funding available to help build the new coach station in the West End, which means the Council will be able to finalise its designs following the current public consultation.
The Council hopes to submit a planning application in October, taking into account comments from the public, transport operators and businesses.
Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “There is a real sense of things happening in Plymouth – we launched our Plan for the City Centre in March and already some of the biggest projects are making incredible progress.
“We recently took the bridge to the old Mayflower Street car park down and the relocation of our reception functions to 71 New George Street will be coming very soon.
“Our city centre supports over 14,000 jobs and we need to keep evolving to keep people coming in – to shop, eat and enjoy what we have on offer. Bretonside bus station has been an unwelcoming first point of call for visitors to the city and had a somewhat chequered past. These projects will create a gateway that Britain’s Ocean City deserves.
“Plymouth is on the up and having a blue chip company like British Land investing heavily in our city centre sends a clear message that we are open for business. This is not just talk. This is delivering.”
David Pollock, Retail Development Director for British Land, added: “It’s fantastic news that the development agreement has been concluded so a planning application to transform this pivotal part of the city centre can be advanced. We look forward to bringing an exciting choice of new restaurants and a brand new multiplex cinema to the city centre. Drake Circus Leisure will deliver hundreds of new jobs for local people, significantly improve connectivity and enhance Plymouth’s evening economy.”
The British Land development includes13 restaurants as well as parking for over 450 cars, extensive improvements to public areas with features, installation seating and planting. The scheme would transform the link from the city centre to the Barbican and the Waterfront, making it far more attractive and easier for visitors and shoppers to travel between these areas.
Councillor Mark Lowry, Cabinet Member for Finance said: “An enormous amount of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to get to this stage. A city of our size needs a range of cinema offers and restaurants and a development on this scale will attract more people to the city centre as a whole.
“As part of the negotiations British Land has agreed to pay towards the new coach hub in the West End, which will also include a new 102 space car park. The company will now be able to submit a planning application for the Bretonside site, while we continue our work on the new coach hub.
“These two major projects will help renew interest in both ends of the city centre, which will be good for businesses across the heart of Plymouth.”
The two schemes will need an investment of around £40 million, which in turn will generate a new level of interest in both areas. It will also create almost 350 operational jobs and around 260 construction jobs.