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Although 'A Plan for Plymouth' was completed by and bears the publication date of 1943, it was not released until 25 April 1944, when officially presented to Plymouth City Council. Having been urged to plan 'boldly and comprehensively' by Lord Reith in 1941, Abercrombie and Watson's Plan certainly didn't disappoint. The plan analysed all aspects of the city and the surrounding area (extending well beyond the city's administrative boundary), exploring everything from history to geography, demographics to agriculture, before presenting a radical and all encompassing vision of a modern city.

Based on the Beaux Arts 'City Beautiful' style and influenced by both Lutyens' plan for New Delhi and the formation of Welwyn Garden City, the Plan proposed the almost complete removal of the old city centre with the formation of a grand north to south axis, connecting the railway station to the Hoe, originally called Pheonix Way, renamed as Armada Way. Crossing this axis a grid of streets formed the main commercial, business and civic areas of the city. A grand east to west road (Royal Parade) separated the civic and commercial areas, with the whole area surrounded by a traffic-diverting ring road.

With the city centre formed from a series of zones, the plan goes on to address the need for new residential and industrial areas, proposing new residential 'neighbourhoods' and surrounding them with a proposed 'parkway' ring-road leading to a new Tamar River road crossing.

Illustration from 'A Plan for Plymouth', 1943
© Plymouth City Council Arts and Heritage
Illustration from 'A Plan for Plymouth', 1943
© Plymouth City Council Arts and Heritage