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Armada Way

Armada Way scheme logo

Armada Way

Plymouth City Centre is looking tired and past its best which is why we want this scheme to happen.

We will be transforming this route in the city centre into a place where people want to sit and relax, play, meet up and enjoy some of Plymouth’s great cafes.

We want an amazing scheme which will lift and rejuvenate this tired part of the city centre, making it more attractive to shoppers, residents, visitors and potential investors who are interested in coming to Plymouth.

Latest News

Taking control of Armada Way

On 19 May 2023, the new leader of Plymouth City Council set out his firm intention to rescue, reinvigorate and renew the city centre and reunite a divided city.

Within hours of becoming the Leader of the Council, Councillor Tudor Evans OBE overturned the decision of previous Leader, in relation to the Armada Way scheme.

This means the current scheme will not be implemented. Officers will bring forward options to regenerate Armada Way.

He has tasked officers with ensuring that further engagement takes place, consulting on the next steps for Armada Way.

On 26 May 2023 the Council wrote to the claimant’s solicitors asking them to withdraw their legal action, enabling the city to move forward. The claimants only agreed to withdraw their proceedings subject to certain conditions which the Council was unable to accept because it considered they far exceed what the Court would determine as part of this case. Therefore, the Council made an application to the High Court for it to consider bringing an end to the current proceedings on the basis they are now academic.

We firmly believe that as the judicial review (JR) is based on a decision that has been overturned, the decision is therefore academic. Following a consultation on a new design, a new decision will be made.  

On 29 June the High Court wrote to the Council saying it did not agree to our application to withdraw proceedings. Therefore the Council requested a re-hearing to consider the application.

On 14 September the High Court refused our request for a re-hearing on our application to set aside the legal proceedings. Therefore, the Council will now move forward with the JR process.


Photographs of the cleaned up Armada Way

On 16 June a cut through between Oggy Oggy and Subway was created, which has been a priority for local traders. Sections of the fencing surrounding the felled trees and stumps were also pulled back – enabling people to pop into shops more easily, widening the footway as well as creating a cut through.

On 29 June the stumps of the felled trees were also removed from the footways between the sections on Mayflower Street / Cornwall Street and New George Street / Cornwall Street, the holes tarmacked and the fencing further pulled back.

On 14 August we announced that preparation work to clear Armada Way is expected to get underway in the next few weeks - with the independent ecologists now using specialist heat seeking technology to see if there are any live bird nests within the felled trees and brushes. More information, and to see a video.

On Friday 15 September, contractors started clearing vegetation, not covered by the legal injunction on Armada Way, to prepare for the removal of the felled tree trunks. The clearance of the overgrown vegetation was necessary to provide clear and safe access for the long-awaited removal of the remaining stumps and felled trees.

On Thursday 23 September, Armada Way was reopened after the successful removal of the felled trees that blighted the city centre for the past six months. A small army of Council staff, contractors and independent ecologists started working at 5am. They carefully checked the tree stacks for any live / nesting birds and ensured that the trees covered by the legal injunction were projected before removing each felled tree and branch from the ground. The team worked solidly throughout the day until 11pm, successfully removing the piles of trees and nearly all of the remaining tree stumps.

The larger trunks were removed from Armada Way and are being kept in storage for potential reuse. The remnants of the remaining felled trees were chipped onsite and chippings are being stored temporarily, before the vast majority being sent to parks and allotments across the city.

From 6am on 24 September, the Council’s street services team were onsite to clean-up the remaining debris. This included mowing, strimming, hand removing any weeds and picking up litter. More information

Consultation on the new scheme

An independent engagement company has been commissioned to deliver the consultation on the new scheme for Armada Way, later this autumn. Whilst work continues on the new proposed design for Armada Way, Plymouth City Council has engaged an independent company – ECF – to lead on the management, delivery and evaluation of the public consultation that will gather insight to help shape the final design.

Working with external experts to deliver the consultation provides reassurance that the process will be fair, transparent and in line with industry guidance and best practice.

ECF (Engage, Communicate and Facilitate) is a communications and engagement consultancy that specialises in supporting built environment, healthcare and renewable energy projects across the country. The team designs and delivers bespoke communications and engagement campaigns that help bring their clients and the communities they work with closer together. Their expertise ensures that projects are transparent, robust, and inclusive. They are members of both The Consultation Institute and The International Association of Public Participation, and their work meets the standards set out by those organisations.

ECF have set up an engagement portal called Let's Talk Armada Way, and people can sign up to receive information about the scheme with the consultation launches.

Independent Review announced

An independent review into the handling of the Armada Way redevelopment has been announced by the Leader of Plymouth City Council.

At the full Council meeting on 27 March, members agreed a recommendation to ask the Cabinet to set up an independent review into the handling of the Armada Way redevelopment, leading up to the decision to fell the trees. 

Timetable of engagements, debates and decisions





2020 to 2022 Covid pandemic – Project on hold because of pandemic and lockdowns



Frequently asked questions

What does the latest injunction news mean for the project?

While the injunction remains in place for the time being regarding the 19 trees that have not been felled, the Judge at the Royal Courts of Justice on  24 March 2023 authorised the removal of the felled trees and tree stumps. This means we will be allowed to clear up the Armada Way site – as had been our original intention.

The conditions set by the court are that we can remove them subject to oversight by a representative from STRAW and an ecologist, whose views must be taken into consideration.

We do not yet have a date for when this will be carried out. Statement for the latest on the clean-up of the felled trees.

Who is paying for the redevelopment of Armada Way

The project will cost £12.7 million. We secured £2.752 million from the Transforming Cities Fund. Local contributions including Section 106 funding and funding set aside in our capital programme.

Who supports the scheme?

We have received many letters in favour of the scheme as well as those against it. We have had letters of support from the following

  • Plymouth City Centre Company who represent hundreds of firms in the city centre
  • The Environment Agency who support the scheme, particularly in relation to the surface water and urban drainage.
  • South West Water
  • Sustrans
  • Historic England
  • Homes England
  • Destination Plymouth
  • Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce
  • Plymouth Area Disability Action Network

Letters of Support

Why can’t you maintain what you already have?

We have the opportunity and funding for a transformational scheme which will act as a catalyst to regeneration of the city centre.

This involves thinking big and bold, creating a scheme which has longevity and takes into account best practice in landscape design, sustainability and planting.

Rather than work around existing, tired infrastructure, the new scheme will give the city a new, high quality city centre park for many decades to come.

What is the plan for maintenance?

Any new scheme would be designed to be as low maintenance as possible and aim for this to be no more of a maintenance cost than the old landscape on Armada Way.

We have enhanced maintenance for two years for all new soft landscaping within the budget and specialists working with our Street Services to establish a sustainable maintenance regime after that.

We hope to encourage apprenticeships in green space management with local education establishments. There is a detailed technical planting and surface maintenance plan.

Why can’t we have better shops rather than new landscaping?

The High Street has changed dramatically over the last decade or so. Long before the pandemic, the rise of online shopping had already had a negative impact on high streets up and down the country. We can’t force shops to open in Plymouth, but we can create conditions which encourages them to come to Plymouth.

One of Plymouth’s long-standing issues is that its city centre footprint is massive – equivalent to Manchester’s central shopping area but without the population to support it. We want to change the mix that the city centre offers, attract more people to live here, spend their leisure time here, eat and drink. We want to broaden the offer so that the city centre has much more to offer as well as great shopping.

Why can’t the council lower the rents or rates?

The rateable value is set by the Valuation Office Agency and the council issues bills based on these values. While the Council is a freeholder of retail properties in the city centre, the vast majority of units are subject to long leasehold interests. The Council has very little control over the day to day management of these properties and the rents charged, which are set by the leaseholders in lettings to third parties.

What is the council doing to sort out the empty shops?

We’re working with Plymouth Culture, the City Centre Company and Vacancy Atlas to fill vacant spaces with cultural projects.

Working with landlords, we identify vacant units that can be made available on a ‘meanwhile use’ basis. The meanwhile use licence will be offered rent free for up to six months. This gives people the chance to test ideas that can then be refined for a sustainable future on the high street. It also aims to increase footfall, bring new audiences to the city centre and try out new products and experiences.

In the long term we aim to create new experiences to get more people to spend more time in the city centre as well as improve and expand the city centre night time economy. For more information visit Plymouth Culture.

Why did you start work on this scheme when other schemes are unfinished?

In an ideal world, the Old Town Street/New George Street scheme should have finished ahead of Armada Way starting. However, the scheme hit issues in its first phase which slowed progress. Like other construction schemes, it was also affected by the post-pandemic supply chain issues including the supply of granite.

What is the latest with Old Town Street and New George Street?

We accept that this has taken longer than expected and this is far from ideal. The contractors had to negotiate a web of modern utilities beneath the ground as well as a layer of concrete – which has hidden a host of issues, including rubble from bombed-out shops, cellars and other voids.

Progress is being made including completing rainwater drainage in Old Town Street and the construction of ornamental gardens in both Old Town Street and New George Street. We have received a large volume of granite ready to be laid and are gearing up for a more intense phase of work in both streets and shoppers will soon see rapid progress. 

We always knew there would be a period of time when construction work would affect the look and feel of the city centre and have tried to manage this by using hoardings with design and imagery both of old Plymouth and new Plymouth to reduce the unsightliness of the works.

We have been liaising closely with the City Centre Company and retailers, who have been very patient and understanding.

Original scheme

We have archived the original scheme information and documents onto a separate page.