Plans revealed for Plym Vale garden suburb

  • New walkable city quarter with village green, playing fields, shops, homes and social enterprise workspace
  • Veterans’ rehabilitation village at heart of proposals
  • Multi-sports arena linked to University of St Mark & St John
  • Primary school, community hall and health facilities
  • £200 million investment triggering £50m windfall for City Council

Plans have been revealed for a new garden suburb in the north of Plymouth.

Called Plym Vale, it will create an entirely new city quarter with walkable neighbourhoods connected by communal green spaces, allotments, squares and a tree-lined semi-pedestrianised boulevard from north to south.

A village high street of local shops and restaurants will meet local needs, winding its way past a new primary school, hotel and community hall, opening out onto a large communal village green on one side and flanked by sports pitches on the other.

A new University Quarter will feature the University of St Mark and St John as its centrepiece, with two new squares, courtyards of student accommodation and a veterans’ rehabilitation village closely linked to a new multi-use sports arena and Derriford Hospital.

As well as the new student accommodation, in the region of 1,500 new homes will offer a range of accommodation from starter-homes and social housing, to detached family houses, to supported homes and health facilities for older members of the community.

This would meet up to 10% of Plymouth’s local housing need, taking pressure off greenfield sites on the edge of the city and in surrounding towns and villages in West Devon and the South Hams.

Plym Vale will occupy the site that was once home to Plymouth Airport, which a Government report confirmed last December could not be viably re-opened as a commercial airport.

It is designed as a walkable garden suburb where people can meet many of their daily needs on foot. It will encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport over other forms of transport, linking with the nearby park and ride and connected to major employment centres including Derriford Hospital, Estover and an expanded University campus.

The plans have been drawn up in consultation with local residents, local businesses, University of St Mark and St John, social housing providers, the NHS and other professionals, including representatives from the Devon and Cornwall Business Council and Devon Chamber of Commerce.

Lord Matthew Taylor has been appointed as an independent advisor to the project to ensure it delivers the highest quality of community facilities and is designed as a national exemplar of garden village principles.

Lord Taylor originated the government’s new Garden Villages policy and conducted planning policy reviews for the previous two Governments. He is also former chairman of the National Housing Federation, representing 1,100 charitable housing associations across England.

Lord Taylor said: “Plym Vale is about great placemaking and helping to meet Plymouth’s urgent housing need with a broadly self-sustaining community providing homes, jobs, education and community facilities, and green spaces that together create a real sense of place.

“Plym Vale can also knit together the fabric of north Plymouth in a far more coherent way by linking up communities that have been separated for decades by this redundant 113-acre brownfield site.”

The plans have been welcomed by the University of St Mark & St John, which would be at the centre of the proposed University Quarter.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Karen Cook said: “If there is not to be an airport on the current site, we are fully supportive of the plans for Plym Vale that Sutton Harbour Holdings plc is proposing. The plans bring added value to the city, over and above a standard housing scheme, and would enhance the living and social options for our future students.”

Developing Plym Vale will cost almost £200 million and create 350 construction jobs every year for the next 10 years, making a significant contribution to the city’s Building Plymouth initiative to create 10,000 additional construction jobs by 2020.

Once built it will be home to 440 permanent jobs and generate tens of millions of pounds every year for the Plymouth economy.

Plymouth City Council would be in line to receive a £50m windfall because it owns the majority of the freehold of the site and is entitled to 75% of development proceeds. Millions more would come from New Homes Bonus and Community Infrastructure Levy payments, council tax and business rates.

The plans for Plym Vale have been assembled by Plymouth-based Sutton Harbour Holdings plc, the award-winning regeneration and destination creation specialist which is the joint landowner and leaseholder of the site.

They will be submitted to Plymouth City Council as part of the council’s ongoing consultation into the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan, which is due to be considered by a Planning Inspector in the autumn.

Sutton Harbour Holdings’ Chief Executive Jason Schofield said: “Plym Vale is a tremendous opportunity for the city to get behind a vibrant new sustainable community that will create an enduring legacy and make the best possible use of this long redundant site.”

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