Barbican and Plymouth waterfront to get £670,000 bike-friendly revamp
THE city waterfront is to get a £670,000 boost to turn it into a bike friendly attraction.
The aim is to breathe new life into key locations along the shore including Commercial Wharf on the historic Barbican which will become a destination in its own right.
Under the bid, empty fisherman's storage arches will be refurbished to enable small businesses to set up shops or cafes and encourage people to visit a part of the Waterfront they may have just walked past before.
There are also plans to build on Plymouth's growing reputation as a bike-friendly city, by including space for cycle hubs for bike hire – both in Commercial Wharf and the Royal William Yard.
The bid is not just about providing hire space, but also outlines plans to improve cycling paths and racks along the waterfront to link the Barbican, the Hoe, Tinside Pool, Millbay and Royal William Yard.
The £670,400 funding boost follows a bid by Plymouth City Council to the Coastal Communities Fund.
Council leader Tudor Evans, whose portfolio includes economic development, said the council's bid was "pretty imaginative" and the money from the fund highlighted how "creative" the ideas were.
He said: "Plymouth has natural assets that most cities would kill to have.
"This bid plans to bring to life areas on the waterfront that have been too quiet for too long. Commercial Wharf was once a bustling location – it will be again.
"I'm also really excited about the opportunities for cycling tourists. Knowing how popular cycling trails such as the Tarka are, this is a great chance for us to attract families as well as couples and individuals to get on their bikes.
"Not only will they have fun, they get to see an exceptional city and, for the softies, there will be plenty of places to stop off and eat and drink."
Duncan Currall, chair of Destination Plymouth, added: "We needed to show how Plymouth would use funding to make better use of our physical, natural, social, economic and cultural assets to promote sustainable economic growth and jobs.
"This bid encapsulates all of those and also includes opportunities for training as well creating jobs."
Chris Arscott, chairman of Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, said: "We are very pleased that during our first year working in partnership with Plymouth City Council we have secured this new investment for the city. It's vital we grow our tourism economy and increased numbers of visitors will result in increased jobs and trade for our businesses."
Plymouth City Council submitted the bid, but it will be delivered in partnership with Destination Plymouth, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership and Plymouth City Centre Company.
The proposal used the recently launched Visitor Plan as a starting point, developing a bid focused on linking areas across the Waterfront through cycling.
The project will create new jobs, through the new cycle hire business being set up, and is expected to start in the coming months and to be completed by the end of 2014.
The council will shortly invite interest from businesses or individuals looking to run the cycle hire facility.
Last month The Herald reported on plans to revitalise the Waterfront with stalls for artists and craft makers, similar to those which use to throng the area in pre-war days.
As many as 15 traders could be allowed to set up stalls on Madeira Road and Hoe Road selling anything from arts and crafts to whelks and fresh fish.
Sarah O'Leary, the Waterfront manager, said the aim was to see stalls offering "fresh fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, strawberries and cream, winkles – anything that will enhance the existing offer, not compete with it.
"What we don't want is burger vans or fairground-style stalls."
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