VIDEO: Supermarket and student flat plan for Plymouth landmark
A SUPERMARKET chain which owns a derelict city landmark has launched a bid to breathe new life into the site.
Aldi, which is responsible for the old Greenbank prison beside Greenbank fire station, has been criticised in the past over its lack of care for the historic building.
Now an eyesore, the structure has become a hotspot for vandalism and antisocial behaviour since plans for a 12,000 sq ft supermarket with 110 parking spaces were rejected by council chiefs in the 1990s.
However, the German budget supermarket chain is now set to launch what they call "exciting new proposals" to develop the site.
Aldi has teamed up with student accommodation provider Forshaw Land in the latest bid.
Following initial discussions with Plymouth City Council, Aldi and Forshaw Land are to display their proposals to develop a supermarket along with student housing in the building.
The public are being invited to have their say on the plans, which will be on show next Saturday. Following that, the plans will be sent to council chiefs for approval.
A spokesman for the developers said: "There have been previous plans for the development of the site that have not gone forward.
"The site is now derelict and the listed building is in urgent need of repair.
"The proposals that are to be displayed have been drawn up following informal discussions with the council and will result in the site being brought back to beneficial use for local residents."
The spokesman added: "We invite all members of the public with an interest in seeing the site brought back into use to view our plans."
One resident who lives nearby said: "I can see why it never happened years ago. The traffic would be a nightmare. There's already loads of student housing around here. But look at it, anything's got to be better than that. It's a lovely old building just wasting away."
The public exhibition of the plans will be at 42 Mutley Plain (the old Cartridge Line shop) from noon until 4pm this Saturday.
LIFE AND TIMES OF THE 'OLD LADY OF GREENBANK'
THE site of the Old Greenbank prison has a long and chequered history.
In 1849 it was built as part of the Greenbank borough prison.
It was adjacent to the workhouse, built two years later, which later became Freedom Fields Hospital.
The part of the building which remains would have contained the governors office, prison surgery and a receiving cell.
In 1935 it became Plymouth police headquarters and a court for 40 years.
It remained despite being struck by a 1000lb bomb during the war.
The north west corner of the site included the ambulance station while the south east corner was, and still is, Greenbank fire station.
By 1987 it was occupied by Plymouth Health Authority and named Longfield House.
Aldi bought the site in 1997 and failed in their attempt to renovate it.
In 2009, police chiefs granted The Herald exclusive access to the decaying building and showed how it had become a hot spot for drug addicts and bored children.
In January last year a community group of 15, calling themselves the Greenbank Greenspace, took it upon themselves to clean the area up.
The group turn it into an area the whole community can be proud of.
But just weeks later, Aldi were ordered by the council to secure the site.
The community minded squatters were served with an eviction notice by bailiffs.
Aldi then boarded up the site and it has lain for the last year with no sign of activity.