Plymouth’s ambitious railway station upgrade is set to take a major step forward after receiving £4.17million of Government cash earmarked for “shovel ready” projects.
Plymouth City Council has been allocated £7million from the Getting Building Fund (GBF) and will use the cash for several projects including Phase 2 of the Brunel Plaza scheme to upgrade the railway station concourse.
It will also be putting cash, handed out by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) on behalf of the Government, into upgrading two city business parks, making homes energy efficient and creating a training centre for welders at City College Plymouth.
But the lion’s share of he allocation, £4.17million, will go towards Phase 2 of Brunel Plaza development which will help transform the station, which has not seen significant investment in decades, by creating a thriving new plaza with operational staff accommodation.
A series of phased developments is planned which will also modernise and refresh the concourse including new shops in the station, more self-service ticket banks and a new waiting area. Phase 2 of these ambitious plans will create more than 60 new jobs.
Once completed, the newly named Intercity Place will house inter-professional clinical skills facilities for the University of Plymouth’s Faculty of Health and be used to train future nurses, midwives, paramedics, physiotherapists, and other allied health professionals.
Documents submitted to Plymouth City Council reveal how a new multi-storey car park, a hotel, and two further University of Plymouth campus buildings are planned at the wider railway station site, with a ramp to the main campus nearby. There are also two patches of land earmarked as “development sites”.
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The HotSW LEP has announced a dozen “shovel ready” South West development projects that are now ready to “go live” after being allocated £21million of funding.
The projects have all been contacted and another 12, that have secured £14million from the GBF between them, are expected to be contracted and go live in the Spring.
Of the £21million allocated, Plymouth City Council said £7million will be pumped into the city to help exciting new construction projects get off the ground in 2021.
Working in partnership with the council and businesses, it is expected that this investment will create or safeguard jobs or apprenticeships.
The projects, chosen after a robust selection process, will play an important role in Plymouth’s economic recovery programme, Resurgam, by supporting employment, regeneration, skills and innovation in the region.
In addition to the railway station redevelopment, about £2million will be spent on two of the city’s business parks. Up to 10 low-carbon, flexible workspaces will be created at Plymouth International, in Derriford, while a former computer complex at the City Business Park, in Stoke, will be demolished and groundworks undertaken to develop a viable site for future construction.
Overall, more than 1,745sq m of flexible workspace will be built with up to 80 jobs or apprenticeships created or safeguarded, including additional construction jobs, and an estimated 8.8kgs of CO2 emissions avoided per annum.
Meanwhile, £300,000 will be spent on helping make about 630 homes around the city more energy efficient.
The households selected will be in fuel poverty, meaning they spend a greater than average proportion of their income on energy bills.
Measures will vary by household but typically include loft and underfloor insulation, new boilers and storage heaters and cavity wall insulation.
This investment aims to result in 500 tonnes of CO2 saved annually and reductions of £270 on yearly energy bills. The project is also expected to give a £1million boost to small businesses.
And £350,000 will be invested in third generation technology to create the largest augmented reality welding (AR) training lab in Europe at City College Plymouth.
This will showcase the HotSW LEP region as a world-leader in adopting disruptive technology to improve productivity and results in the welding sector, and attracting a much-needed new generation to welding through gamification and innovation.
‘A major shot in the arm for Plymouth’s economy’
Cllr Tudor Evans, leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “This is a major shot in the arm for Plymouth’s economy and will make a significant contribution to our recovery from the pandemic. We put forward business cases for a number of exciting shovel-ready projects and I’m excited that they will now have lift off in the near future.
“Through Resurgam we want to deliver economic recovery and growth for Plymouth by improving the city’s infrastructure, reducing carbon emissions and saving or creating jobs for local people. Frankly, construction can’t start soon enough and we expect workers to be on-site this spring.”
Karl Tucker, chair of the HotSW LEP, said: “The HotSW LEP’s Getting Building Fund aims to support ready-to-go projects that will deliver new jobs and contribute to our area’s post-Covid recovery.
“We are delighted to have been able to award nearly £7million through the fund to Plymouth City Council, to help deliver a range of major projects that will improve the city’s infrastructure, create new jobs and significantly support Plymouth’s economic recovery.”
The HotSW LEP secured a total allocation of £35.4million in the summer of 2020, the highest allocation in the South West, from the Government’s GBF campaign, designed to restart the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic.
So called “shovel-ready” projects were chosen to receive funding having proven a solid business case, and that they would create jobs and contribute to a green recovery.
Among other projects given funding are Torquay Gateway, a £6milion project supported with £2millon from the LEP’s GBF allocation; Firepool and Taunton Station Access, a £1.27million project with £400,000 from the GBF, and Exeter Science Park Grow-Out space: a £5.3million project supported with £5million from the GBF.
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