Shaping the future of Plymouth City Centre


A draft new vision is being drawn up to enliven and improve Plymouth City Centre and meet the challenges facing the High Street.

The Plymouth City Centre Company is working up proposals for a new five year business plan to put before businesses later this year.

The not-for-profit company, which runs the city centre Business Improvement District (BID), says it will build on its success in delivering events and championing the city centre, as well as bringing forward new ideas to reflect the changing nature of the High Street and customer expectations.

Next week (September 25) the company’s draft proposals will be discussed at Plymouth City Council’s Scrutiny Committee.

The BID will seek to continue its activities for a further five years from April 2020, subject to a successful ballot of businesses next February.

It was one of the first BIDs in the UK when it was set up in 2005 and has twice been voted back in by businesses.

Since then, it has:

  • Delivered hundreds of events to drive footfall
  • Reduced crime through its award-winning Plymouth Against Retail Crime (PARC) scheme
  • Promoted the city centre locally, nationally and internationally
  • Lobbied for and influenced the council’s city centre masterplan
  • Worked with partners to attract inward investment
  • Reduced business costs

It is well known for its flagship events such as Flavour Fest, the biggest food and drink festival in the South West and its packed programme of Christmas activities.

More recently it has launched the West End Carnival and created a new brand for the West End to attract more visitors to that part of the city centre.

City council leader, councillor Tudor   Evans, said: “The Council has promoted the BID since it was created and is proud of the unbroken record in BID renewal. The coalition of businesses of the City Centre Company and the Council is vital to face the challenges of change in the retail sector.

The city centre is well placed for growth with £400 million of development on the way, including The Box, a new cultural attraction for the 21st century and The Barcode, a new cinema and leisure complex.

It has also been shortlisted for up to £25 million of funding from the Future High Streets Fund and a Heritage Action Zone grant of £1.9 million.

Steve Hughes, chief executive of the Plymouth City Centre Company, said: “We are moving in the right direction and the addition of more leisure to the city centre will be hugely important in improving the experience for our visitors.

“But we need to do more. Our new business plan will seek to maximise the potential of the new and more diverse cultural offer and the Mayflower 400 anniversary and we need to find new uses for some of our long-standing empty retail units.

The Scrutiny Committee will be asked to endorse the principles and approach of the Plymouth City Centre Company BID and its Business Plan for 2020 -2025 and to act as ballot holder for the vote by businesses next February.