One of the most radical roads to be built in Plymouth is now finished and work is just starting on a brand new hotel that will overlook it.

Work on Millbay Boulevard is complete and the long-awaited link from the city centre to the sea is now being used by cyclists and pedestrians alike after its huge transformation from dingy backwater lane.

An avenue of stone pine trees now runs along the link as well as the new square at the Union Street end of the boulevard.

Hardy plants and shrubs that are more tolerant of our salty sea air have been planted in rain gardens which will be irrigated using rain and surface water from all paved areas in the new scheme. Beneath the beds are underground tanks capable of storing 240 tonnes of water - that’s equal to seven shipping containers - as part of a new ‘Sustainable Urban Drainage’ system (SUDs).

This means that at times of very heavy rainfall and high tides in this area the community will be protected from localised flooding. At the same time the water will be used more water wisely to irrigate new plants and trees.

Beneath the ground there is also a ‘district heating network’ running the length of the boulevard with 1,200m of pipework which will tap into Plymouth’s warm water aquifer and will provide reduced cost heat and cooling for the people nearby when new homes are built.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Nick Kelly said: “This really is the green way. This is a pioneering project that has answers to climate change issues. It’s tackling flooding, it’s preparing the ground for alternative and more sustainable heating for new developments and is transforming an area that’s the first thing people see when they come to Plymouth from the ferry.

“Not only that, the boulevard looks better and it’s brilliant to see work start on the new hotel.”

The SUDs system has been developed by the Council in partnership with the Environment Agency and South West Water as part of the EU 2 Seas, Water Resilient Cities Interreg Programme, and working with seven partner cities in Europe, sharing knowledge and challenges.

Other features include an extension to the city's CCTV system, ducting for future 5G network and infrastructure for three on-street electrical vehicle-charging stations.

Work is starting this week on the Hotel Moxy which is being built on a section of the former Pavilions car park. The 220 bedroom hotel was granted planning permission in January 2019 and is one of a wave of development being planned for this important part of the city. The company behind the project is Vastint from Holland, and it is being delivered by main contractors Mitnija, from London. 

Stuart Ward, project manager for Mitnija said; “We are very much looking forward to working with local sub-contractors to deliver the project on time for its opening next summer.”

The new look boulevard aims to create an entirely new setting for development east and west of the former Bath Street which would include up to 600 new residential units, offices, as well as new leisure, cultural and community uses and shops.

The former Bath Street is now twice as wide going from 8.5 m to 16.5 m and has 1,545 square metres - that’s 1.5 football pitches - of new public space.

The whole project, which also includes the demolition of the two old footbridges from Union Street and Western Approach and supporting associated works, is valued at £6.2 million.

Substantial grant support funding came from UK Central Government in the form of Land Release Funding, Homes England, European Region Development Fund from its Water Resilient Cities Interreg 2 seas programme and from its Heatnet programme as well as funding from Plymouth's City Council’s planning system, channelling infrastructure growth money collected from city developments.

Creating this link is a long-held aspiration and the Council has been steadily acquiring properties to enable its delivery. Millbay is changing dramatically. There are now blocks of quality homes overlooking the docks, a new school has been established and shops and restaurants are opening up.



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