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Extraordinary programme delivered in difficult times

20 January 2021

Huge projects which have created hundreds of jobs, some much-needed joy and a sense of a city going places were delivered in the last 12 months - despite the global pandemic.

Councillor Tudor Evans gave the city’s budget scrutiny committee the full rundown of incredible schemes that have happened in 2020. He said: “Last year I sat in front of this very panel and promised a big year for Plymouth with Mayflower 400 ahead of us. No one in the room could have possibly foreseen that terrible impact of Covid19.

“In spite of terrible difficulties we have delivered an extraordinary programme for Plymouth in 2020. Perhaps as big as we ever have. By always working on our five year pipeline this also means that we can better weather economic shocks.”

What happened in 2020:

  • The Box - we opened the UK’s biggest new cultural attraction to 33,000 visitors and installed Anthony Gormley’s Look II
  • Mayflower - launched the autonomous ship to an audience of 107m people worldwide
  • Barcode - the £50m Barcode traded into 2020 for the first time
  • Brunel Plaza - an £80m deal and £40m investment from the University of Plymouth
  • City Centre hotels - we secured two new hotels, OYO and Premier Inn, repurposing the old Woolworth’s building and Derry’s
  • Oceansgate Phase 2 - we topped out the £11m Oceansgate Phase 2
  • Smart Sound - launched Smart Sound and secured £1.8m for Smart Sound Connect (5G)
  • Haxter Court - completed our latest direct development with 62 jobs.
  • Sail GP - we secured the world’s most exciting yacht race Sail GP
  • VOA - secured its national relocation creating 400 jobs
  • Phoenix Wharf - refurbished the pier attracting new leisure uses
  • Horizon Lottery – we were successful in our £10m Expression of Interest for the National Marine Park
  • Mountbatten Centre – we drew up a new 10-year vision for our water sports centre
  • I Mayflower – We supported 220 cultural businesses and 90 new jobs

The Council stepped up to support businesses severely affected by COVID and lockdown. As well as becoming the trusted place for information and support, it has so far paid out over £52m in business grants to over 7,000 businesses.

It also set out a recovery framework to protect our economy and grow back better, the Resurgam Progamme. Despite tiers and lockdowns, the programme has already notched up some key successes.

• Lighthouse Lab - a new £20m regional testing lab led by Plymouth Science Park creating 400 jobs.
• Local procurement - we set ourselves a target of 10 per cent increase over two years to 53 per cent. In six months we achieved 60 per cent, up 23 per cent on last year
• Resurgam Charter - we will shortly launch our Resurgam Charter and local procurement directory
• Skills Launchpad - supports young people to get into work and those who found themselves unemployed. We have had 4,500 users and identified 8,000 jobs
• Capital Programme - we used our £140m capital programme to support 2,500 construction jobs
• LEP Funding - we secured £9m LEP money for oven-ready projects including City Business Park and Plymouth Science Park
• Creative Development Fund - we secured £5m creative development funding from Arts Council England for Plymouth creative businesses
• Future High Streets Fund – secured £12m to redevelop the Civic as an international conference venue with city living.
• Call 4 Fish, Shop4Plymouth and Geddon Plymouth

As well as looking back at the long list of achievements, the committee were given a taster of what’s being planned for this year.

• World-class events including the Mayflower International Festival, Sail GP and the British Arts Show
• £500m development pipeline including Oceansgate, Millbay, Derriford District Centre and the City Centre
• £100m direct development schemes at Plymouth International, Langage, Embankment Road, Millbay and City Business Park
• £385m City Centre investment programme - reopening of Box and Barcode. The Health Hub, Brunel Plaza, Civic and New George Street Public Realm
• National Marine Park - unveiling our first two year programme
• Major funding bids will be submitted including to the Levelling Up fund, Horizon Heritage Fund, Future High Streets Fund, Freeport
• We will open Crownhill Court, Oceansgate p2, Plymouth International hybrid units, Haxter Court, Market Hall, Elizabethan House and the Lighthouse Lab

Councillor Evans added: “This is a budget is all about hope and ambition. Looking ahead there remains much uncertainty with Covid-19 and Brexit. However through this Council’s budget, we have a lot to be optimistic about in 2021."