Plan for £75million upgrade to Plymouth's waterfront
A BOARDWALK and water taxis could be added to Plymouth’s historic quayside as part of a £75million masterplan.
New restaurants, cafés, shops, offices and apartments would also spring up in a bid to turn Sutton Harbour into one of the country’s top waterfront destinations.
Twelve sites have been earmarked for development or improvement by Sutton Harbour Holdings (SHH) in ‘Phase 3’ of the harbour’s rebirth.
They include a new ‘gateway building’ off Exeter Street and improvements to the National Marine Aquarium, Fish Market and Cap’n Jaspers.
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The company unveiled its vision to city leaders last night, after meeting local businesses.
Chief executive Jason Schofield told The Herald an outline planning application would be submitted within weeks – with the aim of completing the first of the work within three years.
He said SHH, which has been developing the history-rich harbour for 20 years, was entering an “exciting chapter”.
The company also recently revealed a controversial masterplan to develop on the city’s airport land – and is due to start work in the New Year on a new marina at Millbay.
“We’ve got to grasp this opportunity,” Mr Schofield said. “Most European cities would die to have this waterfront – it’s a real jewel in the crown.
“I believe Sutton Harbour should be of not just national importance but of international importance. We want to make it a world-class waterfront destination.”
Bringing the proposals to life would create as many as 4,000 jobs, Mr Schofield said.
A total of 350,000 sq ft is included in the masterplan, which is now being circulated among big businesses and other potential tenants and development partners.
An organic food outlet has already been lined up for Quay Point, while ‘pop-up shops’ could use a pod planned for Quay Road and a new mixed-use building could emerge in Brunswick Place.
The proposed multi-million-pound boardwalk at Vauxhall Quay would allow visitors to walk the entire perimeter of the harbour, while a landing point for a water taxi could go next to the China House.
“This is all about swelling the numbers,” Mr Schofield added. “We want to get more people walking around the harbour, visiting the businesses.”
A huge marketing campaign will swing into action next year aimed at boosting footfall. Locals will be able to sign up for an ‘Experience Card’ offering savings in shops and restaurants.
Plymouth Waterfront Partnership chairman Chris Arscott said the plans were a “perfect fit” with the organisation’s own targets.
The plans must be approved by city planners before they get the go-ahead.
Promotional video for Sutton Harbour
INQUIRIES OVER SITE EARMARKED FOR BBC
SUTTON Harbour Holdings has given the strongest hint yet that the BBC’s much-delayed move to a new waterside studio might never materialise.
Chief executive Jason Schofield revealed the company has received enquiries from several other potential tenants about the planned tower on prime land at East Quays.
The £25million BBC scheme was granted planning permission back in 2008.
Work did begin on the prominent plot, beside Salt Quay House, but ground to a halt with the national broadcaster saying it wanted to review its options.
A 2007 agreement between the BBC and Sutton Harbour means either party can tear up the deal for good next month.
Mr Schofield told The Herald plans to bring the broadcaster to the harbour were still on the table.
But he admitted other parties had also been eyeing the “fantastic location”.
“All the way through the last few difficult years we’ve had enquiries about this site,” Mr Schofield said.
“Whether or not the BBC do become our tenant, this location is absolutely fantastic.
“We’re still in discussions with them [the BBC] so we’ll just have to wait and see.
“We would still dearly love them to be down here.”
Work ground to a halt after developers Charles Church pulled out of the scheme citing the credit crunch.
The BBC, whose local staff are currently based at its old offices in Mannamead, had originally planned to move into the 22,000sq ft base by the end of 2010.
Earlier this year, The Herald revealed how a heads of terms agreement signed with construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine Enterprises Ltd had not yet been accepted by BBC bosses.