Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris has visited Plymouth to meet those responsible for the regeneration of Brunel Plaza, a major scheme that involves an upgrade for Plymouth station along with a major revamp of the surrounding area.
The scheme also includes the redevelopment of Intercity House by the University of Plymouth, to train the city’s future health professionals, a new hotel and multi-storey car park and improvements to public areas and links to the city centre.
During his visit, the Minister said: “Our stations serve as gateways to our towns and cities, ensuring communities are connected, enabling access to education and employment and facilitating tourism.
“The Brunel Plaza Scheme will mark an exciting new chapter for Plymouth and I was delighted to visit the station to see first-hand how it will help transform the area into a vibrant catalyst for regeneration.
“This government will continue to invest in vital projects such as this to ensure we boost regional economies and build back better from Covid-19.”
Improvements for the station concourse include doubling the capacity of the existing gate-line with better shops and facilities for passengers.
The project involves:
- Refurbishment of Plymouth station concourse;
- Refurbishment and change of use of Intercity Place for use by the University of Plymouth;
- Re-location of facilities within the RISC (Regional Interactive Safety Centre) building to a new building to the west of the station;
- Demolition of the RISC building;
- Construction of a new multi-storey car park on the site of the former RISC building;
- New-build accommodation for the University of Plymouth;
- Demolition of the existing multi-storey car park;
- Construction of a new hotel on the site of the demolished multi-storey car park;
- Improved and re-configured pedestrian, cycle and vehicular access to the station and city centre.
Permission was granted in September for the Intercity Place project, which will involve the complete regeneration of an 11-storey building overlooking Plymouth station. It will be reconfigured and refurbished throughout – with the exterior also being rejuvenated – so that the finished development creates a striking and welcoming entrance to Britain’s Ocean City.
The University has now signed a long-term lease on the building from Network Rail, and work will begin imminently to give it a new lease of life. Once completed, it will house inter-professional clinical skills facilities for the University’s Faculty of Health and be used to train future nurses, midwives, paramedics, physiotherapists, and other allied health professionals.
There will also be additional educational services, enabling staff to work together in one location to support the future health workforce.
The existing car park opposite the entrance is also earmarked for demolition and a new hotel and second university building created in its place. The masterplan proposes a new car park, almost doubling the capacity to 469 spaces, for the site of the RISC building. Station staff accommodation will be modernised and significant new public space created, including a direct pedestrian link to North Cross and the city centre.
Network Rail Route Director, Western Route, Mike Gallop said: “Training future NHS staff is essential, and we are excited to offer Intercity Place back to the city in order to support the future of the NHS. We believe that Plymouth provides opportunity for young academics across the country and the world.
“This is why we are upgrading Plymouth railway station to meet the city’s growing need of a transport hub that evokes an arrival that lets you know you have reached Britain’s ocean city.”
The entire scheme is expected to cost in the region of £80 million and has the backing of Plymouth City Council, the University of Plymouth, Cornwall and Heart of South West LEPs, the DfT, GWR and Network Rail.