Planned retail site 'will pump £1m a year into economy'
A PLANNED £14 million "out of town" shopping centre would pump nearly £1million into the city's economy each year and create up to 90 jobs, developers say.
Two companies, working together, have submitted plans for a huge retail site selling "bulky goods" at Marsh Mills.
They want to demolish the Legacy International Hotel and build the shopping park, saying it will create an enormous boost for the city's economy.
The Herald revealed the proposal last November, but now plans have been submitted to Plymouth City Council, and have been amended after talks with residents neighbouring the site, and city businesses.
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And the developers, Development Securities (Marsh Mills) Ltd, working in a joint venture with Wessex Investors, which owns the hotel, have revealed more details of the financial boon they say it will bring to Plymouth.
The firms estimate building the retail park will cost £14.2million, and then pump £928,393 into the Plymouth economy each year.
This is nearly £700,000 a year more than currently generated by the hotel.
The project would also create an estimated 142 construction jobs, with 51 people working in the stores, once built.
This could raise to 88 full-time jobs if mezzanine's in the units are developed by shop tenants too.
And there are likely to be part-time jobs created as well.
The hotel employs 22 people.
The companies say Plymouth businesses have welcomed the proposal, which would create a "highly visible gateway" to the city, being adjacent to the A38.
The firms said their consultation concluded the development would have minimal impact on city centre shops, and other proposed developments.
The plan is to build four large retail units with a combined 7,900sq metre of floorspace, and a 712sq metre restaurant, on the 2.1-hectare site.
The plans also include 308 parking spaces, 40 cycles spaces, in a car park which will be shut at night.
Access would be via the current hotel slip road and the proposal includes investment in the traffic management system at the Marsh Mills roundabout to improve traffic flow.
The developers have improved the design, they say, and plan to use a "semi-transparent cladding" to allow natural light to penetrate the buildings, and during the nighttime the facades will give an impression of "glowing boxes".
They are also proposing to screen the site from neighbouring houses, and boost security.
Lucie Brailsford, the project's communications manager, said: "This is a highly visible and attractive site, making it extremely desirable to new 'non centre' retailers that wish to come to the city.
"The existing hotel on site has reached the end of its economic life and, in light of significant hotel provision elsewhere in the city, investment in this business is not viable.
"Our intention has been to design landmark retail space that is worthy of the site's prominent location and is suitable for retail uses that do not conflict with Plymouth's city vision and its focus on the vitality and viability of the city centre.
"Developing the site in this way and attracting new retail investment to Plymouth will assist the city to fulfil its aspiration to become the economic hub of the far South West and the leading retail centre for the sub-region.
"Feedback from the business community regarding the suitability and attractiveness of the site for investment in the city has been very positive and we have also found the input of residents useful.
"We are delighted to have been able to incorporate the majority of residents' suggestions for improvements to the site layout in the final version of the scheme."