Plymouth’s waterfront set for investment with the Levelling Up fund
Plymouth’s waterfront and port look set to play leading roles in the city’s plans to level up, create more opportunities for local people and continue to grow high-value sectors.
Plymouth is pitching for £19,946,417 of investment under the Government’s Levelling Up fund to unlock a £43.551m package of transformational infrastructure projects.
Three key projects are being put forward to drive change by making the most of the opportunities made available through the area’s new Freeport status as well as help create a city where everyone can reach their potential.
The projects intend to deliver innovation, infrastructure and skills across the city through:
- Marine innovation – through the delivery of a Freeport innovation centre, housing high-value businesses, innovation and start-ups.
- Modernisation of port infrastructure – upgrading port infrastructure to meet the export demand created by our Freeport, supporting business growth, high-value jobs and international trade.
- Transformed waterfront – repurposing derelict buildings to engage, inspire and train our future workforce. Raising aspirations to enable access for all to high-value jobs and providing an attractive place to invest, work and play.
Freeport Innovation Centre
Building on the city’s reputation as a hotbed of innovation, the bid features plans for a 2,400m2 Innovation Centre at Oceansgate, a new mobility hub including electric charging facilities for cars and bikes, alongside spaces reserved for car club users to ensure that the operation of the Innovation Centre is carbon net zero.
The centre will be in the recently-designated Freeport tax site at South Yard and will leverage opportunities to grow the sector by providing a focal point for technological advances in the marine and defence arena. The modelling estimates this will create 211 direct jobs, paying an average £31,700 – higher than the average wage for the area of £25,200. The aim is that 10 per cent of these new jobs will be taken by people who are currently unemployed or inactive.
Modernisation of port infrastructure at Millbay
Proposals to improve infrastructure at Millbay to increase capacity for ferry passenger and freight. Improvements include more border control booths, better traffic management to allow swifter boarding and disembarking. Quicker turnaround times for freight is likely to reduce journey times, improve productivity for hauliers and encourage more freight traffic to use Millbay.
A new passenger boarding bridge and modernising the terminal building to improve the passenger experience and welcome to Plymouth is also part of the bid which will improve Plymouth’s reputation as a key port for travellers to and from the UK.
Investment and upgrades to Tinside to ensure the stunning 1930s lido can continue to operate safely and improve the visitor experience. Improvements to Tinside Cove buildings to the east of the pool are part of the pitch with more facilities such as toilets, showers, lockers and café within the unused buildings to attract more visitors, especially residents, to improve health and wellbeing.
Unused parts of the pool complex could be transformed into a learning area with a Maritime Digital Hub to inspire the next generation of marine engineers. National Marine Park engagement programmes could also use the refurbished space for education and ocean conservation initiatives.
Council Leader Richard Bingley said: “These projects have been carefully selected as schemes which have the potential to make the biggest difference to our economy and to the people who live here.
“Improvements to the port, for instance, have the potential to have a huge knock-on effect – encouraging more hauliers to consider Millbay as an option, which creates massive opportunity for our businesses and residents.
“We are also keen to ensure the next generation of workers have the skills they need to be part of the city’s success story and to have access to these better jobs and better pay.
“We have said higher value jobs is a priority for this administration and need to tackle the lag between Plymouth and the rest of the UK – our workers have an average £50 less a week. We need to change that and we need to look in particular at places such as Devonport and St Peter and the Waterfront whose residents are still experiencing higher levels of unemployment, below average educational attainment and shorter lives.”
Luke Pollard, Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, who has been involved in the bid since the start and provided formal priority support, said: “I wanted a bold and innovative levelling up bid and that is what, after much teamwork, we have submitted.
“This bid builds on our strengths as a city and will help create new jobs and grow the skills we need to succeed.
“Each MP, working with their council, gets the chance to bid for up to £20m and this is an ambitious pitch that will drive growth in our city if approved. Plymouth is Britain’s Ocean City and this bid is forged out of a shared conviction that we can lead the way in renovating our waterfront, boosting trade and creating jobs.
“It is a fine example of how working together delivers more than working alone. It is a bid I’m proud to back.”