Plymouth City Centre streets are being given a new look

Work has started to refresh and revive Old Town Street and New George Street as a key part of the city centre as part of a multimillion-pound investment by Plymouth City Council.

The dated 1980s landscaping is being replaced by brighter and greener features including:

  • Better access links across the city centre
  • Islands of greenery
  • A new play area with stepping stones through the gardens, bringing a touch of the surrounding countryside into the city centre
  • Places to sit and rest
  • A small performance area
  • New tree planting carefully arranged allowing clear sightlines to shopfronts
  • Ornamental ‘rain garden’ planting with more sustainable urban drainage

Enabling works transferring the taxi ranks at the top of the town to a new area directly outside the entrance of Drake Circus on Eastlake Street have already been completed, with another rank added at Whimple Street.

Phase one of the main works has begun to the lower section of New George Street, encompassing Armada Way to the House of Fraser service yard. Phase two will get underway in January 2022 with works on Upper New George Street and Old Town Street to Saint Andrew’s Cross.

With the support of Currie & Brown, Plymouth City Council has appointed Mildren Construction to carry out construction works, starting with preliminary works digging down into the main sewage system. The bulk of the scheme will not get underway until after the crucial Christmas shopping period. The project team has drawn up a timetable of work aiming to minimise the impact of the work on shoppers and traders as far as possible.

Phil Jailler, associate in Currie & Brown’s Plymouth office, said: “We wanted to limit the impact the project works will have on traders at this critical time, post-Covid restrictions and avoiding the Christmas rush as much as possible. No one wants disruption to the critical footfall of this key retail area; however, we hope this scheme will make this important heart of the city a lot brighter and more attractive. Not only will it look better, but it will be greener – not just with more trees. The scheme includes several sustainable designs, including a drainage system allowing rainwater to be diverted away from the sewers to water plants.”

City centre manager Steve Hughes added: “It’s great to see so much investment in our city centre. This area was looking tired and needed to change. I am pleased that the project team members have been listening to the businesses and I’m sure they will continue to do this throughout the course of the work.”

The work has been funded through the Transforming Cities Fund to the tune of £6,529,468.50 due to the scheme including wide, clear routes, better visibility and improved signage for cyclists. The Heart of the South West LEP also contributed £700,000.

Completion of the entire project is anticipated in late 2022.

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