New vision for future of Millbay is unveiled as project gets £20m boost
THIS dramatic computer-generated image is a glimpse of how Millbay could look within two years, after new plans were revealed.
The stalled development, years in the making, is now set to get a £20million cash injection to accelerate its growth and transform a derelict area of Millbay.
English Cities Fund (ECf), the lead developer on what has been described as Plymouth's biggest construction project since the Second World War, has drawn up draft proposals for East Quay.
The 102 houses and flats will form about a third of the development of the eastern side of the historic former docks, neighbouring West Hoe Road.
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Ward councillor Chris Penberthy praised the designs. He said the scheme would ensure that Millbay would not "turn its back on West Hoe Road".
The East Quay development is shortlisted in the Government's Get Britain Building programme. Work should start this autumn and be complete by the end of 2014.
But Duncan Cumberland from Muse, ECf's partner in the development, admitted that without the Government cash it would be "challenging" to stick to the timetable.
Meanwhile, bulldozers were in action on the Cargo 2 site, where 14 new houses and 34 flats are to be built on a former car park.
And Mr Cumberland was in talks yesterday with representatives of Sutton Harbour Holdings over their plans to build the 179-berth King Point Marina at Millbay.
Mr Cumberland said he hoped the marina would be completed in time for prospective buyers at East Quay to "see masts on the water".
The new designs for East Quay depart from the original £350million masterplan for Millbay.
Mr Cumberland said the impact on West Hoe Road would be lessened.
A series of new stairways would allow the public and residents to get to the harbour and marina directly from West Hoe Road.
Gareth Jones, who lives at Bishop's Place on West Hoe Road, said: "It has been a wasteland in the 14 years that I have been there.
"From a selfish point of view I won't have my view of the sea any more.
"But West Hoe is rundown so any improvement has got to be good.
"And it will obviously bring in employment, which is good."
Vice Admiral Sir Robert Gerken, chairman of the former Plymouth Development Corporation which was instrumental in the development of Mount Batten and Royal William Yard, said the Millbay development and marina would bring more jobs to the city. The marina was likely to prove a big attraction for potential buyers of the new homes, he said.
The developers are still in discussions with city planners over the final look of the new buildings.
Ian Hosken, viewing the designs, said: "It would be nice if it was built with local materials – granite and limestone – rather than concrete."
Mr Penberthy, a Cabinet member in the new Labour administration at Plymouth City Council, said: "It's good to see some more areas of the Millbay masterplan being brought forward. It's a sign of confidence in the city. They have been quite imaginative in the way they are linking West Hoe Road and the waterfront.
"They will provide 25 affordable homes, which is a good starting point. We will be seeking to encourage the developers to provide employment for local construction workers."
Mr Penberthy said Millbay had not yet reached the "critical mass" point, but he hoped East Quay would help it to achieve that.
Architect Simon Toplis from London-based HTA said a key feature of the development was a series of maisonettes along with their front doors facing West Hoe Road, built on top of another row facing the opposite direction, towards the harbour.
These would be split by wide a stairway down to the waterfront.