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Exciting changes on way for Civic Square

The pond in the Civic Square Preparation work to reinvigorate one of the city’s most important public spaces, Civic Square, is due to get underway shortly.

The project is part of Plymouth’s High Street Heritage Action Zone, a partnership between Historic England and Plymouth City Council and will see the restoration of its most important heritage features, while at the same time re-imagining it for the 21st century.

Substantial funding (just over £2 million) has also come from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund, which has enabled the Council to develop projects to make cycling, walking and public transport a more attractive travel option.

Contractors will create new parking spaces on Princess Street and reline some of the Guildhall car park to allow the square to be expanded to create more space for both cyclists and pedestrians.

It will also address issues such as narrow pavements and raised kerbs which has been highlighted as a problem for those in wheelchairs, mobility scooters or those who have other mobility problems.

This initial work starts next week with the main phase of the project due to get underway in June. Improvements include:

  • New tree planting and work to existing trees
  • Soft landscaping to create an attractive green public space
  • Repairing mid-century design features including the Hoopla (circular) seating, pool copings and planter seating and restoration of the banded natural stone terrace
  • Repairing the pond to improve water quality, filtration and biodiversity
  • Returning the flagpoles to the square on the original axis
  • New modern seating and street furniture considered to reduce clutter 
  • On-street parking spaces at the front of the courts will go to expand the square with new spaces created on Princess Street and more spaces at the Guildhall car park.

Civic Square is a Grade II registered park and garden and important to the city’s heritage. It is part of the civic layout of Plymouth planned in 1956 based on Patrick Abercrombie and J Paton Watson's post-war Plan for Plymouth.

As well as preserving its 20th century credentials, the improvement project includes very 21st century needs with a mobility hub including electric vehicle charge points, e-bikes, car clubs and information on local transport.

Councillor Jonathan Drean, Cabinet Member for Transport said: “We want to bring back a sense of pride into our civic spaces. This project will refresh this square and help people to see what makes Plymouth special. I’m also pleased to see measures to help reduce our reliance on the private car are part of the scheme.”

Simon Hickman, Principal Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas, Historic England South West added: “In the 1950s the original architect of the Civic Square said he designed it as a place for 'dignity and frivolity', and as 'a civic amenity to be enjoyed by townspeople at all times'. This restoration will reinvigorate those original guiding principles and bring this important space back to life.”

For more information visit Heritage Action Zone

For more information about the Transforming Cities Fund