Plymouth council gives thumbs up to jobs boost
WORK is expected to start in July on a £5million building project that could create about 200 jobs.
Plymouth City Council's Cabinet agreed yesterday to guarantee a multi-million-pound loan that would see 50 new workspaces built in Union Street.
The decision will allow the Millfields Trust to redevelop a "flagship" building near its existing headquarters on Union Street.
Fifty new workspace units will be built, creating up to 200 new jobs.
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Cllr Chris Penberthy, who represents St Peter and the Waterfront, said the building would be Plymouth's first office block to be rated "excellent" under the BREEAM standard for sustainable building design, construction and operation.
He said there would be "shovels in the ground" by July.
Council leader Tudor Evans praised Patrick Bowes, urban project manager at the council, for "keeping the show on the road" for the two years of negotiations it took to get the project off the ground.
"It demonstrates once again that Plymouth is open for business," he said.
The Millfields Trust will provide £460,000 and apply for £2.56million from the European Regional Development Fund and a £2.1million loan from the Growing Places Fund, which is administered by the Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Local Enterprise Partnership has indicated that the council acting as guarantor will be a condition of their funding offer.
Cllr Mark Lowry, the Cabinet member for finance, said there had been a significant increase in the number of Plymouth people starting their own businesses.
THE Conservative group on Plymouth City Council have welcomed the latest moves to "finish" Central Park.
The city's Cabinet approved the masterplan for the park drawn up by landscape architect Richard Bara.
Work could start in the next year on the first of the projects – a one-kilometre competition cycle track and a community orchard.
The revised masterplan will transform the park – more than 80 years after the council first started work on it.
Cllr Michael Leaves (Con, Plymstock Radford), was the Conservative Cabinet member who guided the masterplan during the 2011 area action plan process.
He said: "This is virtually the same as we put through. One of the main things we did was to get a Community Forum set up and involve ward councillors."
The park is also set to become the home of junior football for the city's 375 teams and their 4,875 active members.
The first phase will also include work to improve the sports plateau for junior football, cricket and rugby.
THE number of people receiving housing and council tax benefit fell slightly during January, the Cabinet was told.
A report presented by Cllr Mark Lowry, the Cabinet member for finance, said claims fell by 0.12per cent to 31,091. However, this is still higher than the figure of 30,952 a year ago.
Council tax collection continued to improve at 90.85per cent for January against a 90.71per cent for the same point last year, but there was a slight worsening compared to December.
"We continue to telephone customers falling into arrears to promote payment and avoid recovery action. This is reducing the number of summons being issued," the report said.
"I am happy with the direction of travel," Cllr Lowry said.
Plymouth bucked the trend among other councils which have seen collection of business rates falling off.