Plymouth company still waiting on BBC for new studio decision
CONSTRUCTION firm Sutton Harbour Holdings is looking for new projects for its empty waterfront sites – but says it is still waiting to hear from the BBC about a proposed studio.
The firm's annual meeting yesterday heard bosses see significant potential to "create value" at Sutton Harbour.
It plans to do this by linking existing attractions with an improved harbour perimeter walkway, and with "new infill uses".
This means filling the sites currently vacant around the harbour.
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A statement issued after the meeting said: "The company holds a number of underused sites in the area which are designated for development."
One such site is earmarked for a new BBC base but work has yet to start.
In June, chief executive Jason Schofield told The Herald a heads of terms agreement signed with Sir Robert McAlpine Enterprises Ltd last year had still "not been accepted by the Beeb".
And yesterday's meeting heard discussions had take place with the broadcaster in recent weeks and chairman Michael Knight said the firm was waiting on a BBC decision.
Waterfront regeneration is one of SHH's core activities, alongside marine operations and real estate management.
The firm, which announced annual profits of £1.68million in June, this week submitted a "masterplan" for the Plymouth Airport site, which it closed last December. This envisages covering the 113-acre site with houses, shops, offices and student flats.
The meeting heard the company is "working on achieving best value for the site, in accordance with the terms of our lease with Plymouth City Council".
Meanwhile, a link road at the former-airport site has been completed and SHH will now receive the final payments from a developer for this surplus former-airport land, already sold for housing.
Executives also told the meeting they had signed the agreement for a lease for the King Point marina site in Millbay.
Construction of pontoons and a clubhouse is due to start soon, and last six months. "As part of our plans to expand the company's profile and potential customer base, we will be marketing the new berths for the next sailing season at the forthcoming Southampton Boatshow," the statement said. The firm is targeting Solent boat owners, asking them to relocate their vessels to Plymouth.
SHH also reported increased berth-holder turnover at its Sutton Harbour marina and is making efforts to secure new customers here, too.
"After two very disruptive years caused by local road works, trading at the car parks is showing significant improvement," the statement said.
Furthermore, the meeting heard the SHH-owned Plymouth fish market has consolidated its market position. The meeting was told that landings of fish were up on the same period last year.
And SHH has completed the disposal of its investment in Express LIFT, the public-private venture to procure healthcare facilities in Cumbria.
The statement said: "The management team have been busy preparing for the next phase of the company's development and we are looking forward to progressing various exciting new projects in this financial year."