A knowledge centre where people can learn more about the city centre regeneration plans will be installed just north of the Sundial as plans for the new-look Armada Way progress.
A temporary unit will erected so that shoppers, businesses and visitors can view displays of how the city centre will look as well as talk to the teams behind the development. The unit will be place for the duration of the works on Armada Way and will double up as a welfare compound for the team working on the project.
A delivery agreement is being authorised his week enabling contractors Morgan Sindall to go ahead with setting up the site at the beginning of November.
The centre will have detailed information about all the planned City Centre public realm projects – including Old Town Street and New George Street – and will be in place until March 2024.
Cabinet Member for Transport Councillor Jonathan Drean said: “This agreement means we can get on with the ground work for Armada Way. There will a lot of change and we wanted people – especially our businesses – to be able to see the plans and to be assured that what is coming is going to look fantastic.
“We are working closely with the contractors to plan the work so that is causes as little disruption as possible.”
Funding for the activities set out in the agreement cost £859,548 and installing the knowledge centre will be one of the first signs of the change to come.
The 1980s piecemeal landscaping will be replaced with a new linear park over a kilometre long, lined on either side by an avenue of trees.
The aim is to create a more impressive route from North Cross roundabout through the city centre and a clear visual link to the sea, which was the original ambition of Armada Way. The project is part of an ongoing programme designed to address years of under-investment in city centre streets and spaces.
As well as restoring the view to create a more impressive welcome into the city centre, new features planned include play and mixed use games areas, water-based play space and water fountain jets, dramatically improved café seating areas, attractive places to stop and rest, refurbished Braille Garden and Phoenix fountain and a new stepped amphitheatre space, a new running water feature and linear tree pits.
The Sundial and its settings will also be refurbished, a mobility hub is on the cards as well as an improved crossing on Mayflower Street to enhance north-south connectivity.
The new look will take into account climate change, with the planting of plants and trees that are more resilient to an urban environment. A sustainable urban drainage system, integrated into a new stream feature, will form part of a wider strategic network in the city centre. The system includes features such as reed beds, which integrate the drainage system with the new planting to make the best use of surface water.