Plans to improve the city’s welcome for rail passengers and regenerate the area around the station are moving forward now the Council has given approval for a £26 million funding package.
Under the first phase of the ambitious regeneration plans, GWR, working with the Council and Network Rail, will work on a phased upgrade to the station concourse and customer facilities around it.
The concourse improvements will make it quicker and easier to use the ticket gateline at the station and improve the retail offer on the concourse and the platforms.
This will be followed by further improvements to the environment in the concourse, including the concourse entrance and the front of the station.
A planning application for change of use is to be submitted for Intercity House, which towers about the station, to be entirely rejuvenated and restyled.
The entire package of work includes:
- Demolishing the rail incident safety centre (RISC building) on the east side of the railway station to enable a new multi-storey car park to be built.
- By 2021 a new 469-space car park will be built on the site of the RISC building with almost double the capacity of the existing car park.
- Modernised station staff accommodation.
- Public space works including a direct pedestrian link to North Cross and the city centre.
- A new-look entrance off North Cross will also massively improve the pedestrian access to the station.
- Potential for a new hotel and gateway development on the site of the existing car park, which will be demolished once the new one is completed.
Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “This kickstarts a pledge that we made to Plymouth in May to deliver a new gateway to Plymouth at the train station with a new entrance overlooking the city, a new car park and more spaces for business and retail.
“We’re leading on this regeneration, moving from the drawing board and concepts to planning real change on the ground. This is an extraordinarily complex scheme, but the timetable for much needed change is coming together.
“It’s really exciting and following hot on the heels of other major city centre projects including The Box and Drake Circus Leisure redevelopment.”
Managing Director for GWR Mark Hopwood said: “This is an exciting project for the city and for the railway. We have now started to operate brand new 10 car long distance trains to Plymouth and Cornwall, and we are delighted with the enthusiasm and willingness of our partners at Plymouth City Council and Network Rail to develop a project at Plymouth that will be great for our customers and will give Plymouth the standard of service and the quality of welcome that a city of its size and stature deserves.
“We are really pleased to have reached this next milestone and to kick off the design work for the concourse, alongside plans for a much improved car park and public realm.”
Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley CBE DL said: “The LEP’s Growth Deal includes a proposal to allocate £4.7m to this important scheme as part of the wider funding package. It’s crucial that we create the right conditions for growth in order to raise the productivity of the area, and transport links are a major factor that need our investment. I wish this project every success and look forward to seeing the scheme progress.”
The Council has been working with Network Rail, GWR and the University since 2015 to bring forward this regeneration. Last February the Government announced the project could get around £4.7 million as part of a package given to the Heart of the South West Local Economic Partnership. The scheme has already received some financial support through the One Public Estate, the Cabinet Office provided £700,000 for feasibility and planning work.