BBC's new Plymouth headquarters will be approved
THE BBC's new HQ at Sutton Harbour will go ahead even though a major developer has pulled out of part of the scheme.
Sutton Harbour Group was given planning permission last year to build the BBC's £25million headquarters, with a residential block behind, delivered by the developers Charles Church.
A Sutton Harbour Group spokesman said this week that Charles Church had pulled out because of the credit crunch.
Work has already begun on the foundations of the BBC building on the East Quays site, after a turf-cutting ceremony last year.
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The new development will open up more of the harbourside to walkers.
The Sutton Harbour Group was given permission yesterday to separate the two developments.
The BBC has signed an agreement to lease the building from Sutton Harbour Group, and wants to move in by the end of 2010.
The Environment Agency threw a last-minute spanner into the works this week by objecting on the grounds of flood risk, even though the original scheme was given approval.
After negotiations with council officers, the Environment Agency withdrew its objection.
Nicky Wildy, Labour councillor for Devonport, welcomed the scheme.
"A really good thing is that it connects the East End of Plymouth to Sutton Harbour," she said.
Jill Dolan (Con, Stoke) welcomed the assurance from officers that the brown/orange colour shown in the artist's impression of the building would weather.
Planning officer Jeremy Guise said the building was designed to allow the public passing by to see staff at work inside.
Patrick Nicholson (Con, Plympton St Mary) said he was disappointed that the housing element had been removed, but welcomed the development.
"I welcome the urgency with which the council has dealt with this. It's essential that Plymouth is the home of the BBC in the South West."
Jason Schofield, director of development for the Sutton Harbour Group,
said: "We've revised our original plans to take account of market conditions and are concentrating on delivering the new BBC headquarters before considering how the rest of the site could be developed in the future.
"That means we have to submit a fresh application and if approved we can continue work on site with the BBC expecting to start broadcasting from Sutton Harbour by mid 2011."