Plymouth City Centre revamp given the green light - work Starts in 2020

Plymouth’s shopping heartland is to get a new look as the city gears up for a new wave of visitors to come flocking in.

Like we've already mentioned here, the company behind the Barcode complex has put forward a plan to revamp Plymouth's city centre.

Exciting plans to transform Old Town Street and the upper end of New George Street have now been given the green light by the city’s planners as Plymouth gets ready for the opening of not one, but two, major developments.

The countdown is now on for the opening of the £50 million Barcode complex with a 12 screen Cineworld cinema, 15 restaurants and bars, while next year, the Box, Plymouth’s epic new cultural attraction, which will house art galleries as well as museum exhibitions and archives collections will open. Cabinet Member for Finance and city centre manager, Councillor Mark Lowry said: “We’re on the cusp of massive change in the heart of Plymouth.

“We’re now counting down the weeks until these projects open and few cities will be able to offer visitors and residents so much in one place.

“These projects are game changers, we need to make sure that people who come to the city centre to enjoy these new attractions are impressed with what they see at all points of their day. Making sure the spaces around these key new developments are attractive, modern and look good, is vital.” Key features includes:

• Better connection between Drake Circus and Drake Circus Leisure and the rest of the city centre

• Space for on-street retail – British Land are proposing a number of new pavilions

• New modern seating

• A more attractive setting for existing retail

• New tree planting carefully arranged to allow clear sightlines to shopfronts.

• Improved public realm that promotes pedestrian priority.

Ageing street clutter will be cleared and the feel of the street ‘refreshed’ so that the city can continue to attract investment from the world’s biggest retail brands.

The programme is a collaboration between British Land (who own Drake Circus, The Barcode and the blocks which houses House of Fraser and Debenhams) and Plymouth City Council, with the Council carrying out the public space improvements as part of the Better Places programme and British Land improving and expanding the retail offer in Norwich Union House and providing new Pavilions in the streets.

The new look will see more trees and gardens planted to make the most of Plymouth’s 20th century modernist architecture. Spaces will also be created to encourage small events and places to linger or meet up and new play space.

David Pollock, Head of Major Retail Developments at British Land, said: “We are pleased to be working with Plymouth City Council on improving this key public space and repositioning parts of the retail offer around Drake Circus Shopping Centre and the new Barcode leisure complex. The work will serve to enhance both the existing offer and the new development which is due to open to the public in a matter of weeks.”

The work is expected to begin next year.

About the developer, British Land:

The British Land Company plc is one of the largest property development and investment companies in the United Kingdom. The firm became a real estate investment trust when REITs were introduced in the UK in January 2007. It is headquartered in London. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index and a founding member of the European Public Real Estate Association.

The British Land Company was founded in 1856 as an offshoot of the National Freehold Land Society (later Abbey National) formed in 1849 with the two chief architects of the freehold land movement Richard Cobden and John Bright. Both were ardent supporters of a movement to extend enfranchisement. To qualify for a parliamentary vote it was then necessary to be a landowner and the main object of the National Freehold was to facilitate the acquisition of small plots of land by the people. To do this the British Land Co. would purchase land and then resell it on the best terms to any customer who wanted to buy it. With extension of the franchise this reason ceased to govern the operation of the company, and it began to operate as a normal business in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

In May 2005 British Land announced that it had agreed to purchase Pillar Property Plc for £811 million in cash to boost its position in the out-of-town retail property sector.

In 2006 Sir John Ritblat, who had chaired the company since 1970, stood down and was replaced by Chris Gibson-Smith.

As of 31 March 2018 the company owned a portfolio valued at £12.7 billion.

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