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It was once the most important gateways into the city – now it is about to be demolished to make way for a plush leisure complex.

Dubbed Drake Leisure, the development will replace what was Bretonside bus station and bring new life to worn-down site.

In its place will be a £40 million 12-screen cinema, restaurant and leisure complex as part of a major investment package by British Land, the UK’s largest listed retail landlord.

And David Pollock, retail development director for British Land, which also owns Drake Circus opposite, said once complete, the attraction will be the "most significant leisure scheme in the South West".

Earlier this month an order was enforced by Plymouth City Council for the 'stopping-up' of public footpaths through the former coach station, including the steps and subway at Exeter Street.

Former units within the bus station have been demolished 

And although minor works have already taken place, including checking the structural viability of the Exeter Street viaduct, contractors have started moving on to site this week to begin the main bulk of constructio


Although British Land and the council are remaining tight-lipped about the work that is starting this week, a council spokesperson said more will be revealed imminently.

"We are working closely with British Land on the new leisure development at Bretonside and will be announcing more details soon," they said.

Bretonside bus station: History:-

Bretonside bus station was completed in 1958 after Plymouth’s lengthy redevelopment after the Second World War.

But in September 2016, nearly 60 years after the station was officially opened, the city’s new coach hub on Mayflower Street welcomed its first passengers.

The old site, which had become run-down after years of neglect, was then fenced off in readiness for its massive revamp.

  
The station was completed in 1958 after the rebuilding of Plymouth following the Blitz

Bretonside bus station reflected the city’s post-war architecture, which consisted of modernist concrete structures centred on the city’s car-friendly infrastructure.


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By the turn of the century however, although Bretonside was a gateway for the city by many long-distance coach services, with a rapidly-decaying façade and increasing crime, the importance of the station’s transformation had become more important than ever.

Drake Leisure: What will be there?

The £40million Bretonside multiplex will have fewer restaurants but more cinema seats – and an astonishing new look – revised plans submitted earlier this year revealed.

British Land Ltd, the huge property company behind the ambitious scheme, changed its mind on how the development will look and drew up exciting images showing a building with landscaped public space among the street level restaurants, with the cinema above, and all topped with a “sky bar”.

It published a series of new breathtaking new images in its latest planning documents – which revealed the identity of two restaurants apparently signed up to the project.

New images were released earlier year of how it might look

One clearly shows a branch of popular pizza-pasta chain Zizzi – which would be the first in Plymouth. The closest is rival chain Prezzo in Royal William Yard.

Thaikhun is also rumoured to be eyeing up a unit there, although bosses have not yet confirmed this.

Another restaurant chain mentioned is Coast-to-Coast, although recent PR by the company says expansion of the brand is not on the cards.

British Land also wants to bring the cinema down on to one level, but retain all 12 screens, including an IMAX.

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