Page 1

issue#01_spring 2008



04 sea change

Plymouth’s illustrious maritime past is creating the foundation for its future

13 what’s happening

The schemes and plans to turn the city into the region’s top choice for investment

31 healthy, wealthy...

How the medical and healthcare sector is the city’s economic life blood

44 location, location Its coast, moors and climate make Plymouth’s position one of its best assets

Nigel King, Chief Technical Officer, Motorola, Devon

issue one: CONTENTS


_spring 2008

04 10 13 18 22 27

Editor: Sarah Herbert

Introduction: Plymouth is building on its illustrious past of maritime heritage, innovation and resilience to create a city for the 21st century

Deputy editor: Kirsty MacAulay Art editor: Terry Hawes Advertisement sales: Paul Gussar

Map: An overview of the city, and what’s happening, where

Production: Rachael Schofield Managing director: Toby Fox

Projects: We round up the major building projects, and their importance to the city’s regeneration

Office manager: Sue Mapara Printed by: Trade Winds


Tourism & leisure: Plymouth’s location and history mean it’s always been perfectly placed to make the most of residents’, and visitors’, downtime

Medical healthcare: With expertise and premises abounding, this crucial area of the city’s economy is booming


Creative industries: From art to acting to music, the cultural sector of the city is on the verge of a renaissance

Marine industries: For centuries a centre of maritime excellence and innovation, Plymouth is still leading the field


Advanced engineering: Plymouth is already one of the leading high-tech UK cities, and set for greater things

Business services: Spanning every commercial sector, the business of looking after companies is vital to Plymouth’s future


Quality of life: By the sea, plenty of cultural activities, Dartmoor ponies... is it any wonder relocators are moving to Plymouth?

Images: Plymouth City Council, City College Plymouth, Claire Tregaskis for CCP, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, John Hepburn, Roland Levinsky Arts Building - University of Plymouth, Theatre Royal Plymouth, BD 2007, Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group, Plymouth Enginuity, Princess Yachts International, Drake Circus Shopping Centre, Devonport Royal Dockyard, English Cities Fund, DDRC, Christopher Draper, Redrow, Chris Saville -, Trevor Burrows Photography - Urban Splash, Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust, Wikipedia, Discovery Surf School, Ralph Rutter/Event Media, Brittany Ferries. Published by: 189 Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TB T: 020 7978 6840 F: 020 7978 6837 For Plymouth City Council

Civic Centre, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2AA 01752 668000 Head of investment and sector support Rupert Owen Economic development officer Kate Martin


Marketing and events officer Sara Tapp

“Plymouth has a wonderful natural harbour, offering a great view. But our eyes are set on a sustainable future. That’s what the people of Plymouth want.” Mike Leece, chair, Plymouth Chamber of Commerce “Plymouth is emerging as a rejuvenated place, as a major European city.” David Warburton, area director for English Partnerships in the South West


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© 3Fox International Limited 2008. All material is ­strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written ­permission of 3Fox International Limited is strictly ­forbidden. The greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information in this magazine at time of going to press, but we accept no ­responsibility for omissions or errors. The views expressed in this ­magazine are not ­necessarily those of 3Fox International Limited or Plymouth Council.



of progress


The city of Plymouth, with its proud maritime history, is entering its next phase. Paul Coleman looks at how new visions, strategies and economic sectors will spell a new era of prosperity.


lymouth has an illustrious history. For many years unrivalled as a naval base, famously the departure point for the pilgrims to a new life in the New World, and the first city in the UK to build a pedestrianised centre, it has bounced back from adversity many times. Now, after a few years of relative economic slough, proud Plymothians sense that their maritime city is – once again – grasping one of its many historical opportunities to grow and prosper. The late 20th century wasn’t kind to Plymouth, with a decline in the defence industry (its traditional employment base), limited privatesector investment, low levels of entrepreneurship and areas of extreme disadvantage. Its appearance and layout also posed problems. The city suffered heavy bombing during the Second World War, and, as a result, much of its architecture and design remains the product of a hasty reconstruction programme. But in its latest renaissance, the grand-sounding Vision for Plymouth plans to demolish, redesign and rebuild sections of the city so that it can fully capitalise on its unique harbour and waterfront by 2020. Even the city’s football club, Plymouth Argyle, is planning a new hotel and conference centre at its Home Park stadium, hoping to add

to the 11 million visitors and tourists who flock to Plymouth each year. The vision for south west England’s second-largest city was launched in 2003 by David Mackay, renowned British architect and ‘city repairer’, the man largely responsible for Barcelona’s Olympic Village and port renovation. Since then, it has blossomed into a sweeping plan to transform Plymouth’s sometimes austere physical environment and hitherto deprived social economy. “Plymouth is becoming a great place to live, work and play,” says Mike Leece, chair of Plymouth’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a University of Plymouth governor. “A resurgent Plymouth will benefit the rest of Devon, and also Cornwall.” The city’s transformation is underpinned by a strategic partnership between its powerful movers and shakers and a diverse range of people drawn from its local communities. Supported by the city council, the partnership’s aim, broadly, is for the growing catchment population of 720,000 to live and work in a cultured, clean and green conurbation, fortified by a knowledge-based economy focused on industries such as advanced engineering, business services, creative and media, marine, medical, and tourism. In 2006 the Plymouth partnership launched Sustainable Communities, a holistic local economic strategy seeking to drive up economic and social well-being, spread prosperity and cut unemployment.

The vision is being rolled out under the goals of creating a city that is ‘healthy’, ‘wealthy’, ‘safe and strong’ and ‘wise’. A city development company will strategically market Plymouth to increase inward investment, with a £14 million Community Village scheme aiming to transform the prospects for people living in the city’s more deprived East End neighbourhoods. “We want Plymouth to be in the top 10 European cities for investors looking to locate to a stunning waterfront location,” says Ian Thompson, area director of the South West of England Regional Development Agency. To this end, the RDA was a key investor in the £1.4 million Marine Skills Centre in the city, which helps workers develop boat-building skills. New marine businesses – key to the future economy of the city – will also be boosted by the planned Princess Yachts facility at Millbay. The redevelopment of Sutton Harbour, the original Plymouth settlement, and the subsequent transformation of the Royal William Yard by the South West RDA and Urban Splash are also attracting private investors. Inland at Derriford, there are plans to build a £50 million new hospital, designed by Foster + Partners at the Plymouth International Medical and Technology Park. More improvements have started. Armada Way now hosts festivals, entertainment and markets, complete with al fresco eating areas and farmers’ and street markets. A new crossing over Royal Parade was completed in 2004. The £170 mil-

clockwise from far left : Plymouth’s proud maritime past; the £350 million transformation of the once bustling Millbay; new industries are thriving in the city, from hospitality to new technology.



Above and top: The £170 million Drake Circus Shopping Centre, which opened in October 2006, is reviving both the city centre and the retail offer.

lion Drake Circus Shopping Centre opened in October 2006. The Pannier Market in the Independent Quarter is flourishing, full of shoppers looking for locally produced fresh products such as Cornish Brie and Devon Blue cheeses, as is the refurbished Tinside Lido on Plymouth Hoe, the spot where Drake supposedly played bowls before setting sail to defeat the Spanish Armada. The jewel in the crown is the £300 million Millbay development, one of the top 25 regeneration programmes in the UK. Typifying Plymouth’s waterfront city aspirations, Millbay, a once bustling tidal basin port within Plymouth Sound that fell derelict, is set to benefit from a plan to build 2,300 homes and over 70,000sq m of retail space, quickening the city’s progress towards a more diverse economy. And it is diversifying rapidly. Call centres, healthcare, food and drink processing, even chewing gum manufacturing, flourish alongside

traditional industries such as engineering, boat-building and electronics. While employment and wages are below the national average, the spending power of 30,000 students at the University of Plymouth, one of the largest in the UK, has boosted the economy, helping the city position itself as the second largest retail market in the South West, and the 29th in the UK (with an annual retail expenditure of £600 million). The ultimate aim is to generate higher-value jobs, which will necessitate closer ties between the strategic partnership groups and the university. Professor Wendy Purcell, the university’s new vice-chancellor, herself a science graduate from Plymouth, believes the university “espouses the spirit of discovery for which Plymouth is renowned”. It’s going through a period of huge growth: recent new additions include a £40 million education faculty building; the £36 million Roland Levinsky Peninsula Arts faculty (funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the South West RDA), which opened last summer; the £11 million Nancy Astor Building, due for completion September 2008, for health and social work students; and the relocated Peninsula Dental and Medical School, the UK’s first new dental school in 30 years. It is also studying the feasibility of a £40 million marine science and technology centre. This should go a long way towards the sustainable communities strategy’s ambitious targets for population and economic growth, to be helped by regional trends, shown by government statistics, that the South West’s economy is growing faster than the national average. With its economic strength, along with rising house prices, it looks like Plymouth is challenging Exeter’s claim to be Devon’s first city. Rather than comparing itself to Exeter, however, many feel that Plymouth ought to be rivalling London and Liverpool for fortune and fame. It certainly has the history for it. It

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Above and top: The £36 million Roland Levinsky Peninsula Arts faculty opened to students and the public in summer 2007. The building brings together the faculty of arts and of science on one campus, and acts as a gateway between the town and the university.

was the first town to be incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1439, despite having been ransacked and burnt by marauding French, and by 1700, building on its Bronze Age and Roman origins, had grown from being a motley collection of fishing villages into a major town. Later, Plymouth’s strategic Atlantic-facing location and its deep-water anchorages, fed by the Plym and Tamar rivers, ensured its future as a naval port, key to Plymouth’s prosperity, especially during England’s frequent wars with France and Spain. The naval dockyard at Devonport generated a local workforce of seamen and artisans – carpenters, coopers, ropemakers and sailmakers – to supply the Navy’s vessels and crews. Local merchant ship owners enjoyed Navy protection. Plymouth’s history is punctuated with famous visitors: Catherine of Aragon in 1501, Pocahontas in 1616 and Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815. It was the port of departure for the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620, Captain James Cook in 1722 and solo circumnavigator Sir Francis Chichester in 1967. Another famous Plymothian, Sir John Hawkins, led England towards the morally stagnant but potentially lucrative waters of the African slave trade between 1562 and 1567. Thankfully, in retrospect, despite Plymouth’s advantage of enabling a quick turnaround of the relatively few ships that left Plymouth for the Guinea Coast and the West Indies, it wasn’t nearly as successful at slaving as Bristol, Liverpool and London. Its capacity to process sugar and tobacco never really took off, with the city’s largely poor artisans and labourers unable to afford such luxuries. The Second World War, unlike those of the previous centuries, brought death and distress to the city. Luftwaffe raids between 1940 and 1944 targeted the dockyards, a strategic base in the war for North Atlantic naval supremacy. Remark-

ably, the dockyards escaped major damage. However, the city and its civilians suffered terribly. Some 1,180 Plymothians were killed and thousands rendered homeless. The estimated 250,000 bombs that rained hell on Plymouth during the 31 raids of 1941 destroyed 20 schools and 40 churches. The city’s will remained unbroken. Plymothians proudly rebuilt their city. Yet its growth into a modern city never quite took off, mainly due to the lack of an alternative manufacturing base to build on the Royal Navy presence and maritime economy. And in the 1980s, it also missed out on the spoils of the Thatcher era that led to the ‘yuppie’ revival of other dockland areas in Bristol, Liverpool and London. Patchy economic growth, low infrastructure investment and decay of the city’s post-war, modernist rebuild left a significant section of the population struggling with unemployment and consequential social problems. This is all set to change. “The hiatus which followed the war years is giving way to a dynamic vibrant city,” says David Warburton, area director for English Partnerships in the South West. “Plymouth is emerging as a rejuvenated place, as a major European city.” And the agents agree. “The Millbay regeneration project, Mount Wise [a historic 5ha former NATO maritime site] and the Mackay Vision all add up to an exciting future for the city,” says Ifan Rhys-Jones of property consultant King Sturge, the first national residential agent to open an office in Plymouth. Its head of residential for the South West, Midlands and Wales, Robert Atwell, agrees. “Plymouth is a rising star in the West Country property market,” he says. “The massive regeneration programme presents very exciting opportunities.” However, Leece accepts challenges still remain. Not least the government plans to phase out Plymouth’s Neighbourhood Renewal Fund assistance, just one of the areas that could be squeezed by ever-tightening comprehensive spending reviews.

Such challenges will test the strategic partnership’s ability to maximise resources for boosting vocational training and generating high-value jobs. Links with schools and engaging their pupils will prove vital. “Those children will be working and starting businesses during the vision’s timeframe,” says Leece. Plymothians also expect effective public service and demand enhanced transport links and high levels of community involvement in local decision-making. The city is one of 18 ‘empowerment champions’ chosen by the government to ‘reinvigorate local democracy’. “We’ve got to make recognisable progress to keep the community’s support,” insists Leece. “Plymouth has a wonderful natural harbour, offering a great view. But our eyes are set on a sustainable future. That’s what the people of Plymouth want.” ❦

taking plymouth forward

Plymouth City Council leader Vivien Pengelly, also a key member of the local strategic partnership, is genuinely optimistic about the vision and the strategy for the city’s regeneration. “We will be placing the city on the European and international stage. We’ve a fabulous natural environment in which to grow the city’s wealth.” She is also shadow chair of the City Development Company, the body leading Plymouth’s growth, and says the strategy’s success will mean that Plymouth can “drive the economy of the South West”, particularly in the medical and marine sectors. “The city’s marine science companies are internationally acclaimed.” City council chief executive Barry Keel points to a number of innovative projects that are transforming Plymouth. “Millbay, Derriford and the Eastern Corridor all have a unique role to play in our economic future,” he says. Private investors are keen to invest in Plymouth. Drake Circus shopping centre has brought even more national brands into the city, and “Urban Splash has successfully redeveloped Royal William Yard by creating stunning apartments from redundant buildings,” adds Keel. As for involving local people in Plymouth’s regeneration, according to Keel: “We engage with all the communities through consultation events and will also consult residents on the future branding of the city.”




Where the action is An overview of the main project areas in Plymouth, to set its investment opportunities in context

City Centre page 13

SOUTH YARD page 16

MILLBAY page 15


tamar science park page 31

MOUNT WISE page 16

international medical & technology park page 32












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SOCINVEST08 08 your place at, Book by calling delegate manager Kirsten Taylor on 0207 978 6840, or emailing Team discounts available on request.



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Tony Middleton Divisional director of asset and facilities, London Borough of Croydon

Organised by:

What’s happening



Plymouth, renowned as one of the world’s most famous departure points, is now set to become a destination in its own right. Julie Mackintosh rounds up the groundbreaking projects set to transform the city.

CITY CENTRE Until the 1990s, Plymouth’s heart was not a healthy one: uninspiring architecture, poor-quality public realm, tired retail offer deserted after working hours, lack of residential accommodation, little office space and no connection to the waterfront… to name just the main problems. The Mackay Vision in 2003 set out to change all that, proposing greater intensification and density of development with residential, leisure and cultural uses. It also envisaged improvements to the built environment and public realm, with links to the waterfront and – perhaps most controversially – the introduction of tall buildings. The council has been promoting the vision ever since. Last year, Plymouth City Centre Company (set up to deliver the regeneration) unveiled a masterplan by LHC Group to transform the West

End into a vibrant shopping, residential, leisure and cultural district. Setting out 20 specific projects over the next 20 years, the aim is to create a ‘Covent Garden of the West’, with a network of streets, lanes and plazas known for independent shops, markets, cultural activities, bars and restaurants. LHC is also proposing new civic and commercial buildings, as well as a residential tower. In November 2007, city chiefs showed the courage of their convictions by approving the South West’s tallest building for Plymouth city centre, which will act as a catalyst for the transformation of the city centre. Devington Homes’ 39,465sq m £75 million Oceanique will boast living, working and retail space in the North Block, the South Block and the Tower. The 100m, 31-storey, tower will contain 109 apartments above a three-storey restaurant. The eight-storey North Block will have retail and 6,000sq m of office space, while the South Block comprises a seven-storey hotel to the east and 63 apartments to the west.

What’s happening 14


SHERFORD NEW TOWN With up to 5,500 homes planned by 2016 (50% of which will be affordable), 7,000 new jobs, a 207ha community park (considerably larger than London’s Hyde Park), around 67,000sq m of commercial space, 16,740sqm of mixed retail accommodation, three new schools, a wide range of public amenities and the development of road and transport infrastructure, developer Red Tree’s 400ha ‘urban extension’ to Plymouth is nothing if not ambitious. The city council has been talking about Sherford for years now and believes the area will be crucial to realising its goals of population growth from 241,000 to 300,000 by 2026. The government planning inspectorate gave the new town the go-ahead in summer 2007, allowing planning applications to proceed. All being well, Red Tree hopes to be on site this year with the first homes available as part of phase one sometime during 2009.



MILLBAY At 196,000sq m the £350 million transformation of Millbay from partderelict harbour into waterside quarter is Plymouth’s biggest regeneration project in more than 50 years, and will be one of the South West’s top live, work, play destinations. Planners gave proposals by developers English Cities Fund and English Partnerships the green light in August 2007. They include more than 1,200 new homes, two hotels, a marina, offices, shops, cafés, high-quality public spaces, waterfront access and a new boulevard to the city centre – fitting the Mackay Vision of reconnecting Plymouth to its waterside.

Some work had already begun on phase one – Millbay’s first mixed-use scheme – back in October 2006. With 134 homes and 1,900sq m of commercial space, it is due to be complete in summer 2008. Stanhope and Schroders It will include 10 townhouses, as have made much of the well as 124 one- and two-bedroom supposed benefits flats, a quarter of which will be affordof the public park able. The commercial accommodaIt is this aspect tion will occupy the ground floor. of theA arena that the further phase of 123 apartments andfeels has been council misunderstood, or townhouses and 316sq m of business ignored, by its detracspace is likely to follow shortly. The centrepiece of the newtors. “Stanhope and Schroders have made scheme is a proposed 18-storey much of the supposed development on Clyde Quay includbenefits of the public ing speciality shops and leisure uses park included as on the ground and first floors,part with of its proposal,” residential accommodation above and says Tim Pollard, an observation deck on the roof the with council’s cabinet member sweeping views to the open sea and for regenDrake’s Island to the south. eration and economic development. “But at best,this will serve local office workers and those who buy flats right next to the open space. No-one travels into a town centre to use a park. The arena, on the other hand,

a’s communitybased initiatives will be the responsibility of a charitable or nonprofit making organisation, provisionally entitled the Croydon Arena Foundation. The CAF will run the outreach programme as well as events at the arena to raise funds for its chosen charity partner, Nordoff-Robbins, the UK’s largest providtechnology work experience in the community.

ROYAL WILLIAM YARD Just a few minutes from the city centre, residents of the über-cool Royal William Yard live steeped in Plymouth’s seafaring history. Constructed by Sir John Rennie between 1825 and 1831, the 4,650sq m collection of grade I listed buildings served as a giant larder and refuelling point for the Royal Navy until the 1990s. In 1999, the South West of England RDA spent more than £20 million carrying out essential preservation work to the limestone walls, huge timbers and cast iron columns, and in 2002, high-profile Mancunian developer Urban Splash was appointed to regenerate the site. So far, it has transformed the Clarence and Brewhouse buildings into 130 apartments as well as a wintergarden, café and arts spaces, which have hosted concerts and events. The mix of original features and 21st century design appealed to eager buyers who snapped up properties ranging from £180,000 to over £1 million, prices not previously witnessed in the Plymouth housing market. The next residential phase – 79 one-, twoand three-bedroom apartments in the Mills and Bakery, with commercial and retail space – is currently on the market. But Royal William Yard is far from complete: Urban Splash will be working on the 72,000sq m peninsula development for years to come.

What’s happening 16


Stanhope and Schroders have made much of the supposed benefits of the public park It is this aspect of the arena that the council feels has been misunderstood, or ignored, by its detractors. “Stanhope and Schroders have made much of the supposed benefits of the public park included as part of its proposal,” says Tim Pollard, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic development. “But at best,this will serve local office workers and those who buy flats SOUTH YARD right next to theowned open by the MoD, and closed Previously space. No-one travels to the public since the Second World War into a town centre to for security reasons, the former South Yard use a park. The arena, Enclave Devonport is now being transon the otherinhand,

formed into a mixed-use development of newa’shomes, office and retail space. communitybasedDeveloper initiatives willRedrow Homes was appointbe the ed asresponsibility English Partnerships’ partner in early of a charitable non- later, in January 2007, 2006 and aoryear profit making organidemolition of the security wall surrounding sation, provisionally South Yard got under way. entitled the Croydon Plans for the site include more than 450 Arena Foundation. The high-quality homes, a community healthCAF will run the outcare centre, new reach programme as supermarket and shops, offices workspace. The historic well as and eventsmanaged at the Market Hall will be retained and key areas arena to raise funds for its chosen have been charity allocated as public open space.  partner, Nordoff-Robbins, the UK’s largest providtechnology work experience in the community.

MOUNT WISE Firmac Developments hopes to begin work on its £60 million conversion of the former ministry of defence Mount Wise site – built in the 18th century as a residence for the governor of Plymouth – this summer. The 110,000sq m Devonport development is set to host 450 homes and provide 9,150sq m of commercial floor space, transforming derelict space and creating 250 jobs. The scheme, by 3W Architects with technical input from Scott Wilson, will also provide 1,500sq m of community facilities, including a gym, cricket field and pavilion, small shops, bistro and play areas. The two grade II listed buildings, Admiralty House and Mount Wise House, are to be converted into a hotel and 1,700sq m of commercial space respectively. The nuclear bunker on the site will also be brought back into use as a data storage facility. ❦

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Ship to shore


Plymouth’s maritime past, which has long defined the city, is still playing an important part in attracting visitors. Its natural harbour, Plymouth Hoe and the Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse have long since been big draws, along with waterfront museums and attractions. Now, as Adrienne Margolis discovers, tourism is playing an increasingly important role in regenerating the city. “Tourism is firmly embedded in the economic strategy for the city. It is one of six areas recognised by the regional development authority in a programme launched by Alistair Darling a year ago,” Andrew Huckerby, chair of Visit Plymouth, says. “Our economic strategy is about developing and increasing the amount of business done through tourism. Our goal is to increase the number of workers in the sector to 65% or 75%, and we are well on the way to achieving this target.” Visit Plymouth is the main vehicle for delivering tourism in the city. Its members include Plymouth Attractions Group, the City College Plymouth Centre for Vocational Excellence (COVE), the Chamber of Commerce and the Plymouth Summer Festival, as well as hotels, pubs and restaurants. A current priority is developing cruise liner business. A new £1 million pontoon will be opening in April 2008, enabling tourists to disembark into the Barbican area, home to many of the city’s bars and restaurants. For 15 years Plymouth has been one of the largest conference centres in the region. The main conference and exhibition centre is undergoing refurbishment, due to be completed in 2009. As part of the upgrade, an ice skating rink on the site will become exhibition space. Visit Plymouth is helping to expand this already prosperous area. “We are developing the sector through Conference Plymouth, a group of 18 businesses involved in

hotels and conference centres. We are creating national and international exhibition facilities, and linking up with Exeter and Torbay to bring people to our conference facilities,” Huckerby explains. Another big part of the local economy – 20% in fact – is the hotel sector. In the past 18 months alone, 500 additional hotel rooms have come on stream, in hotels like the luxurious Jurys Inn. “New hotels have added large conference facilities and are very busy. There are at least another three four- or five-star hotels in the pipeline,” Huckerby adds. These hotels are needed all year round in Plymouth for tourist visitors, too, who come to such attractions as the Theatre Royal, Plymouth Hoe, with its renovated lido, and, of course, the city’s many maritime attractions. In May 2008, Plymouth will see its profile and income boosted when it hosts the Transat 2008 transatlantic ocean yacht race. While Plymouth has hosted the race, held once every four years, since 1960, when Sir Francis Chichester won the inaugural race, for the first time this year it had to beat off bids from other cities. It succeeded because of a plan to bring it to the centre of the city at Sutton Harbour, with a race village built in the Barbican area and the fleet of yachts moored in the harbour, for the public to visit for 10 days prior to the race. The event is expected to generate about £1.5 million for the regional economy. “Winning the race is a coup for the city and will be a great curtain-raiser for the Plymouth Summer Festival,” says Nigel Godfrey, managing director of the Sutton Harbour Group. “We will be able to showcase some of the best that Plymouth has to offer.” All this is good news for another key attraction, the National Marine Aquarium, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary at the same time as the race. When it opened, it was the first aquarium in the UK to be set up solely for the purpose of education, conservation and research. “Plymouth has the biggest concentration of marine scientists in the UK. Our role is to be a shop window on to the oceans, particularly with the imperatives of pollution and climate change,” says director Kelvin Boot. “These may be worthy aims but we have to attract visitors. Which means that we have to be continually exciting.” The aquarium attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year, and is a big income earner for the city. “Economists at the university have worked out that in a bad year we ➼

clockwise from left: The scenic Hoe has long been a draw for seafarers and landlubbers alike; Saltram House; Plymouth’s heritage is now set to be part of its revival. “Our economic strategy is about developing and increasing the amount of business done through tourism. Our goal is to increase the number of workers in the sector to 65% or 75%, and we are well on the way to achieving this target.” Andrew Huckerby, chair of Visit Plymouth



top: The National Marine Aquarium, 10 years old in the summer, attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year. above: The awardwinning Drake Circus shopping centre.

contribute £10 million to the local economy and in a good year £20 million. This means that we have paid for ourselves five or six times over,” Boot reveals. The aquarium has also rejuvenated the surrounding area, with a leisure park, multiplex cinema, tenpin bowling facility, and blocks of apartments springing up. “We are a very important part of the fabric of the city,” Boot says. “This is an inventive use for this part of the city, which was run down but is now part of the changing profile of the whole of Plymouth.” “The aquarium has been a huge catalyst for change. Who would have believed that people are prepared to pay £250,000 for an apartment in this part of the city?” The aquarium is a good illustration of the extent to which tourism and regeneration are intertwined in Plymouth. “We are trying to focus resources on parts of the market that give the best return to the local economy,” Huckerby explains. This means that around the revamped leisure facilities, restaurants and shops are doing well too. Many new high-quality restaurants have opened in the last couple of years, Huckerby says, while the award-winning Drake Circus complex in the city centre has transformed shopping. “Drake Circus was built to solve Plymouth’s lack of stores,” says the centre’s managing director Mike Jones. “It was difficult to build in the city centre but we have managed to create 60 new shops and restaurants under one roof. This has proved a big attraction because it is a huge offer in one statement, not a refurbishment.” As well as a flagship Primark, the centre has sought-after shops like Zara, H&M, Coast and Hotel Chocolat, which shoppers previously had to visit Exeter or Truro to find. “People are coming from all over the South West to shop here,” Jones says. Locals are flocking there too. “Our vision was to be

community-based. Our building has become both iconic, and a central meeting place,” he adds. The shopping centre has a high profile nationally as well as locally, after winning two retail industry awards in 2006. This means that despite tougher times for the sector, Drake Circus has been bucking the trend and experiencing an increase in footfall. In common with other attractions in the city, Drake Circus works closely with the rest of the business community, helping, for example, to launch the first Summer Festival in 2007. “We were instrumental in sponsoring that, and it worked well,” Jones says. Drake Circus is also a key supporter of the city centre’s business improvement district (BID), started in 2005. Through this, businesses pay an extra 1% on their business rates which is ring fenced to improve the area. “Research has shown how much it has changed things – we have a much cleaner, more secure city,” Jones says. There is now a proposal for a Tourism and Waterfront BID, which will cover around 600 businesses in the waterfront area. Consultation on the proposal is under way, with a ballot planned for February 2009. All these changes mean that Plymouth is now realising its potential. “It is a renaissance – that is the only word for it,” Boot reckons. “In the last five or six years, people have started to do things instead of just talking about it. We have kept useful links with the past but have stopped looking back and started looking forward.” ❦

One of the world’s leading brands, one of the UK’s most experienced property companies At P&O Estates we are committed to real estate. Our focus is the acquisition, development and management of office buildings, business parks, retail and mixed use regeneration projects in the UK and Europe. Our current portfolio is valued in excess of £1bn and our tenants include many of the world’s leading corporates.

We are part of the Dubai World Group, a holding company that manages the investments of the Dubai Government. We are affiliated with Nakheel PJSC, Dubai’s pre-eminent development company, with $30bn of major projects under development. At P&O Estates, we manage Nakheel’s European investment and development activities.

One of our most prominent local regeneration projects is the development of Drake Circus – an exciting 560,000+ sq ft shopping centre development, right in the heart of Plymouth city centre. Redefining ‘shopping’ in the South West, Drake Circus has successfully put Plymouth on the map as a major retail destination.

As you would expect from such a company, all our projects are conducted with careful consideration of the environment and we strive to achieve the most sustainable forms of development.

Drake Circus, Plymouth

City Square, Carlton House Terrace, London

Chelsea Harbour, London

Hillswood Business Park, Chertsey

With this firm foundation for success, P&O Estates continues to build upon its reputation as a leading property company within the UK.

P&O Estates is affiliated with Nakheel PJSC




Creating the future Plymouth’s geography, next to the sea and far enough from other cities to be individual, along with recent investment means that its creative industries are on the brink of a renaissance. Noella Pio Kivlehan reports.

left: The £36 million Roland Levinsky building at the Peninsula Arts campus at the city’s university. above and top right: The Theatre Royal, one of the best-attended producing theatres in the country.

Plymouth is now embracing its creative side, and it wants the rest of the UK to know about it. Over the past five years, so many organisations dedicated to bringing in and highlighting media, culture and arts have been established in the city that the positive feeling for the sector in the city is at an all time high. However, all those involved want it even higher. Organisations such as Peninsula Arts, Plymouth MediaPartnership and the Theatre Royal, backed by support from Plymouth City Council, have been making huge strides in promoting the creative sector, and want even more national interest. “Plymouth is changing rapidly. There has always been a creative side, but it’s been hidden and we haven’t always been as proud of what we have got,” says Kate Sparshatt, business development manager with Peninsula Arts, a public arts programme working with the University of Plymouth Peninsula Arts faculty, which was set up four years ago. Voicing what is now the general feeling among those in the city’s creative sector, she says: “We had kept ourselves to ourselves, but that’s changing as regeneration combines with a change in thinking. There is now more investment in creative industries and it is clear that Plymouth is becoming proud of itself. Now institutions

like the Arts Council are interested in us, Plymouth is becoming a city that’s engaged.” On a micro level, Peninsula Arts shows how much the city has started to change in its attitude to the creative sector. It was set up by former university vice chancellor Roland Levinsky, to enable the university to engage with the city – its website describes itself as “the cultural umbrella organisation for the University of Plymouth, providing a diverse programme of exhibitions, music, talks and events”. “It was a town and gown vision,” says Sparshatt. “We were established as part of the [university’s] vision to bring the faculty of arts and faculty of science together on one campus.” Just last September the two faculties, which had been split between Exeter and Exmouth, moved into the new £36 million Roland Levinsky building. “This building is a gateway between the town and the university,” adds Sparshatt. City-wide, those in the creative sector believe that Plymouth has a lot to offer other companies and groups. As well as new office space, offering a choice of accommodation, the unique selling point to the creative market is, according to Sparshatt, Plymouth’s geography, with the sea on one side and the city on the other, and its position within the UK. She believes that Plymouth’s distance from other major conurbations gives it a unique selling point. “It means we don’t have to follow trends and we can generate our own [cultural programmes].” ➼



Adrian Vinken, chief executive of the city’s Theatre Royal, apparently the largest and best-attended regional producing theatre in the UK and the leading promoter of theatre in the South West, agrees. “We [in Plymouth] have a quality of life that we should play on whenever we can. The city is about attracting talented people,” says Vinken. He adds that bolstering the creative industry sector is “about knowledge transfer and creativity” and that Plymouth can be a leading city for “media companies that can work telemetrically and which need broadband so where they are physically placed doesn’t matter”. “If you are a graphic designer or production company and you have a choice of, say, Bradford, Milton Keynes, or Plymouth,” he says, “it’s a no-brainer that you’d choose a beautiful city.” Indeed, Plymouth is already gaining a reputation for attracting independent digital TV companies. Vinken highlights the Plymouthbased Twofour Communications, which uses the power of TV and technology to help businesses and public sector organisations manage, educate, sell, entertain and

build brands, as a classic success story. “Five years ago Twofour had 50 employees; this year it’s 250. In 2003 its turnover was £7.5 million; now it is £35 million,” says Vinken. The increasing awareness of the need for individual groups and companies to work together is an aspect Sparshatt is proud of, and something she believes is helping to push the creative industries. “Co-ordination in the promotion of our programmes is becoming very important – it shows that we in Plymouth are putting on a united front. People really want to work with each other,” she adds. This is also the goal of the Plymouth Media-Partnership, which has 858 members including television, film and radio, facilities houses, interactive media, animation, website design and marketing companies, and even music composers. In its own words, PM-P is the “one point of contact for all creative professionals to showcase their services to a wider audience and to collectively attract new business and foster the development of technology, skills and training.” Manager Karen Stockdale is keen to see more investment from around the country. “We haven’t had a huge amount of inward investment – it tends to be more indigenous or new start ups coming through from the various colleges. Although we do have the likes of ITV and the BBC here, it would be good for the city to see a major player set up here.” On a separate wish list, Sparshatt would like to see a “specific dance scene” created. “We could have a venue dedicated to dance, but there’s more scope for contemporary art, which is already happening.” The BA in contemporary dance being launched at the university in September 2008 should be a big help in this area. As Sparshatt sums up: “It is vital that we exist and having a strong cultural programme shows the strength of the city. If you have a strong cultural programme then people will assume you have a strong city.” ❦

left, above and top: The Peninsula Arts Faculty building at the University of Plymouth is at the heart of the city’s creative industries. “We were established as part of the [university’s] vision to bring the faculty of arts and faculty of science together on one campus.” Kate Sparshatt, business development manager with Peninsula Arts public arts programme

THE massive regeneration of the former South Yard Enclave is taking shape with the completion of the first new homes that will form part of an exciting mixed-used neighbourhood.

Transformation of South Yard breathing new life into Devonport The rejuvenation project being undertaken by Redrow to create their ‘Vision’ development has made great strides over the last 18 months, since planning permission was granted to build a new community, complete with more than 450 homes, shops, offices and community facilities. The most recent advance is the opening of a fully-furnished showhome, which will give homebuyers the first opportunity to view the interior of a completed property. It is opening just over a year after the award-winning housebuilder made history when they began

construction and demolished part of a three-metre high security wall that had scarred Devonport for over 50 years, and fragmented a community. Chris Anderson, Regional Project Manager for Redrow Homes (South West), said: “The completion of the first new homes is another milestone in the redevelopment of Devonport. The transformation that is taking place here really is breathing new life into the area. “The site was once part of the town centre, which was heavily damaged by the blitz, until it was requisitioned by the MoD shortly

after the Second World War. We are delighted that prospective buyers are now able to come and see the major progress we have made at the site by looking round a completed property. With the showhome now open, we’re also looking forward to the next important milestone of welcoming our first residents, who are due to move in this spring.” As well as more than 460 new one and two-bedroom apartments, and two, three and four-bedroom homes, the Vision scheme will also include a range of employment, retail and mixed-use development. The designs of the properties at Vision will accentuate and complement the proportions and broad character of the surrounding architectural heritage, and will help to create a diverse and interesting environment with a perfect balance between traditional and contemporary styles. It will include the grade II listed Market Hall and clock tower, which Redrow will ensure is brought back into lively use. The façade of the Midland Bank building will be preserved and again be present in one of the main streets. These two historic buildings will form a link

from Devonport’s proud past to its new, exciting future. The bank frontage, dating from 1922, has been incorporated into the design for Redrow’s first phase and is intended to provide the façade for two of the apartments. The newbuild properties in this phase will be of a contemporary design with brick and render finishes. Currently available at Vision are three-bedroom properties and also elegant four-bedroom townhouses, priced from £174,995 to £223,000. As well as the amenities of Devonport, the development is also close to the coastal city of Plymouth, which enjoys views of the surrounding coast and Devonshire countryside. Plymouth offers a wide range of pubs, restaurants and leisure facilities, as well as schools, doctors and shops. For more information on Vision and how to become part of the Devonport community, call 0845 676 0328 or go online at General information about Redrow and its properties is available at





Office politics right: Entrance to Millbay, the redeveloped harbour to have 200,000sq m of mixed-use space, including 31,000sq m of business space for offices. “My sense is there is tremendous potential for the business services sector here. It will be at the forefront of the economy.” David Parlby, chief executive of Plymouth’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Business services, one of the six priority sectors identified in Plymouth’s economic strategy, is perhaps the least easy to define, but, as Mark Smullian explains, is crucial to its whole economy. Unlike, say ‘advanced engineering’ or ‘marine industries’, ‘business services’ refers to a vast range of facilities that need to be in place both to help local businesses to function effectively and to attract investment from elsewhere. Plymouth’s economic strategy has called for special attention for business services, including accounting, banking, legal services, business process outsourcing, call centres, shared service centres and information technology. It also includes the possibility of attracting to the city both the ‘back office’ work of companies located elsewhere, and regional headquarters of national companies. Plymouth is fortunate in having

sites available for development that can offer modern buildings ready for investors in many sectors. David Parlby, chief executive of Plymouth’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry says: “My sense is there is tremendous potential for the business services sector here. It will be at the forefront of the economy. New businesses need both office accommodation and business services, so I’m sure business service organisations will see the opportunity here, though they may find they have to invest upfront. “Interestingly, as business services need to be in place before investors come, they might have to invest before there is much return at first.” Parlby points out that the city’s strengthening economy has led to a number of national legal firms setting up Plymouth offices in recent years, and that the arrival in late 2007 of investment manager Brewin Dolphin “suggests they expect a significant number of high net worth individuals here”. The largest independent private client investment manager in the UK took space at the Langage Business Park, where it employs 15 people. Its southern region director Sarah Soar

says the company had wanted an office in the city for many years. Plymouth’s largest development is Millbay, which will provide more than 200,000sq m of mixed-use space on what used to be a derelict site by the harbour. The developer is English Cities Fund, created by the government to attract private investment to key regeneration opportunities, and taking the form of a partnership of the regeneration agency English Partnerships, Muse Developments and Legal and General. Millbay is one of six projects around the country in



business_services “The quality of life there and the very affordable cost of living mean that businesses that set up in Plymouth find they have very low levels of staff turnover, as people choose to live and work there. “ Millbay project director howard morris

which English Cities Fund is investing. Part of Millbay is devoted to business, explains project director Howard Morris. “There will be 31,000sq m of business space for offices, and two hotels, one of which will be a four-star business hotel,” he says. “What it brings to Plymouth is office space with good access to the city centre, but in an attractive setting by the waterfront. Restaurants and bars will help to make it a focal point for business in Plymouth.” According to Morris, Millbay’s significance lies in being a planned expansion of the city centre that provides both business space and the associated amenities that attract investors. Past expansion in the city tended to depend on individual

developers putting forward projects to the council, he believes, leading to somewhat uncoordinated growth. “I’ve always believed that in the past Plymouth expanded by luck,” he says. “Millbay is part of things being more forward-planned for the long term.” As for business services, Morris believes it is growing and that Millbay will fill the gap in supply of central high-quality offices. “There are relatively few opportunities in the city centre, for example, for company HQ relocation. Millbay fills a gap in demand,” he says. Plymouth’s Airport Business Centre (ABC) in Estover caters for all types of business, not just those related to aviation. Its managing director David Young says business services has “grown quite a lot

with increased demand for office and commercial space for support services”. While the city has many commercial landlords, Young claims that his concern is the only one to also provide business support services to tenants, rather then simply renting them space. With its recent launch, back2business, ABC has branched out into business continuity – the provision of fully serviced premises to where a business can relocate while its normal premises are out of action, perhaps because of fire or flooding. Everything from computers to conference rooms, and even a cafeteria, is provided to help clients pick up the threads of their work and function as near to normally as possible. More than 100 companies


are signed up to use the centre – according to ABC, the only such facility south of Bristol – in the event of disaster, including Brittany Ferries and Flybe, and enquires come from all over the country. One factor that might be thought to hamper Plymouth’s efforts to grow in business services is its location – there is a demand from local companies for business services, but might remoteness discourage those from elsewhere? Mr Parlby thinks not. He says: “This is a good place for business

because Plymouth is a city on the up. It is a great place for the knowledge economy because of the university, and for business generally because of the quality of life and the ability to work with people in London almost as well as being there, but without the expense and hassle.” Morris makes a similar point about how Plymouth’s location can be an advantage for businesses. “The quality of life there and the very affordable cost of living mean that businesses that set up in Plymouth find they have very low levels of staff turnover, as people choose to live and work there. “For a lot of businesses, having

this picture and above: The enormous Millbay regeneration will extend the city centre, and fill the gap in supply of highquality offices near to the city centre.

a stable workforce is very important and they can get that in Plymouth. “Plymouth is also just a 1 hour, 45 minute flight to Gatwick, and three hours by train to London.” As the business services sector grows, it should attract more investors that need to use it to conduct their own work effectively, thus increasing demand for services in a virtuous circle. ❦

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In the city’s economic growth, one area where it already has a head start is the field of medicine and healthcare. Jon Neale looks at why this sector is set to grow by over 35% in the next decade. Plymouth is a natural place in which to concentrate medical facilities. Rupert Owen, economic development co-ordinator at Plymouth City Council, explains: “We have a lot of expertise already, particularly around the large hospital complex at Derriford. It’s certainly an area in which we already have a competitive advantage.” And it’s growing rapidly. According to the city’s local economic strategy, there will be almost 26,000 jobs in those industries by 2026 – some 7,000 more than in 2003, a predicted growth of over 35% in just two decades. So, what is the basis for this forecast growth? Back in 2004, the Peninsula Medical School was formed at the Tamar Science Park, a partnership between the University of Exeter, University of Plymouth and the NHS in Devon and Cornwall, and one of the first new medical schools to be formed in the UK for more than 30 years. Over the past 12 months, it has established the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, thanks to a successful funding bid, and has been allocated a 20% increase in undergraduate numbers. Nigel Halford, chief executive of the Tamar Science Park – and the chair of the Plymouth Medical and Healthcare sector Network set up to promote the industry across


Medical marvels the city – says: “There is already an existing, and rapidly developing, medical base in position – not just from nearby Derriford Hospital, which is one of Europe’s largest, but also from what we have here on the science park, where we have the medical school, and where the dental school will be built. The sector is also well-served by a number of medical-based companies in the immediate sub-region. “The mix of activity extends from the teaching side to medical engineering, medical informatics and biomarine science. Indeed, there is a complete spread of medical disciplines.” Cardio Analytics is one such specialist, also based on the Tamar Science Park. It was set up in 1994 by two cardiology technicians from the Derriford Hospital. Their first initiative was to create an easy-access investigation unit for GPs, in response to the long waiting lists for cardiac monitoring. When this proved rather difficult, it moved instead into analysing the data from the trials of new cardiac drugs, becoming one of around only 25 such enterprises in the world. Recently, however, it has been approached by various primary care trusts around the



country to carry out cardiac investigation work for GPs – bringing it back to its roots. Now, it carries out work for PCTs as far away as Nottingham and Surrey, and is branching out into audiology. Managing director David Morris – one of those two original technicians – explains that, although the company’s location is a historical accident, Plymouth is an ideal place for the business. “Plymouth has a big catchment area, and it is a fabulous place to live. As a result of the medical school, and the concentration of related business in places like the Tamar Science Park, it is actually a bit of a medical mecca. All these things are spoking out from the hub of the hospital itself.” The Hyperbaric Medical Centre – also known as the Diving Diseases Research Centre – is one of Morris’s neighbours on the science park. It began in 1980 in Fort Bovisand, near Plymouth, as a purely diving-related charity, dedicated to examining the effects of the bends. Karena Pring is its chief executive. She explains how the company, which is still not-for-profit, has evolved. “In 1998, it became apparent that hyperbaric oxygen therapy – the decompression treatment – is very good for helping certain medical conditions, such as diabetic ulcers, radioactive tissue damage and carbon monoxide poisoning. We now provide a whole range of services to the NHS, as well as to divers. We still train for incidents – indeed, we trained the Blue Planet team from the BBC.” Obviously, the centre benefits from its proximity to the Atlantic. But Plymouth offers more than just a waterside

location, Pring says. “There is a distinct advantage to us being on the Tamar Science Park. We do a lot of work with the intensive care unit at Derriford Hospital. But also, there are a lot of healthcare or science-based research companies nearby, and we are right next to the Peninsula Medical School. There are always people from other businesses, as well as doctors and nurses, visiting us.” Away from the science park, in November 2007, health operator Circle unveiled plans for a new centre of clinical excellence on land owned by the South West of England RDA at the Plymouth International Medical and Technology Park. The building, designed by Foster + Partners, will offer world-class surgical, diagnostic and treatment facilities for both NHS and private paid patients and add more inertia to the significant medical cluster emerging in and around Derriford. The healthcare network is recruiting staff to bring together the hospital and university with the burgeoning private sector. Eventually, the network will provide a ‘onestop shop’ for companies dealing directly or indirectly with the medical world, or for medical staff looking to become more enterprising. It also wants to promote entrepreneurship among graduates of the Peninsula Medical School. Indeed, if the initiatives prove successful, Plymouth could become just as famous for medical innovation as for Francis Drake’s bowling match. ❦

above : The new Dental School at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. right : The Hyperbaric Medical Centre, interested in conditions to do with diving such as the bends. Both are based on the Tamar Science Park. “The mix of activity extends from the teaching side to medical engineering, medical informatics and biomarine science. Indeed, there is a complete spread of medical disciplines,” says its chief executive Nigel Halford



Putting much more than a roof over people’s heads. English Partnerships is the national regeneration agency helping the

The regeneration of the former South Yard Enclave in Devonport, and

Government support high quality sustainable growth in England.

the demolition of the security wall, will make a major contribution to the quality of life for local residents. Removing the wall will provide

In the south-west we are working with our regional partners to deliver

access to the historic Market Hall and Clocktower, which will be

new homes and job opportunities for local communities.

restored, and has been welcomed by residents throughout the city. Over 450 new homes, shops, offices and community facilities will be

In Plymouth we are supporting the English Cities Fund to deliver a

built and more than 100 of these homes will be available for affordable

£300m harbour-side regeneration scheme in Plymouth’s Millbay and

rent or shared ownership.

the Devonport South Yard Enclave. This development will provide around 260 new homes, 1,244 sq m of business space, 14 business

As a founding partner of the new Plymouth City Development

units, leisure facilities and reconnect the area with the city centre.

Company we are also looking to the future. We’re serious about

More than 10 ha of brownfield land will be transformed to help

helping Plymouth succeed. We’re putting much more than a roof over

establish Plymouth as one of Europe’s finest waterfront cities.

people’s heads.



Riding the tide Plymouth is justly famous for its maritime history, the legacy both of a magnificent natural harbour – one of Europe’s largest – and of local seadog heroes. Jonathan Morrison explains how its maritime expertise will be central to the city’s future, too. Centuries of sailors – from Sir Francis Drake, who famously completed his game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe before sailing out to battle the Armada, to Sir Francis Chichester, the first man to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly – set out on their expeditions and voyages of discovery from the city. Today the area is still home to a Royal Navy fleet, including the carrier HMS Ocean and hunter-killer submarines; the largest naval base in Europe at Devonport; and more than a third of the elite Royal Marines’ 3 Commando Brigade. The large military presence and the skilled employees the Royal Navy base has recruited and returned to the area, have, since the Second World War, led to a booming modern civilian maritime sector. A study carried out by the University of Plymouth shows the city has, in fact, the largest cluster of marine and maritime businesses in the South West, with nearly 270 firms deriving their profits from the Tamar estuary and the seven seas beyond. Prominent firms include Princess Yachts – a world-beating boat-builder that exports its sleek leisure craft around the globe and which has become one of the biggest brands in its market – and DML, which runs the biggest ship repair facility in Europe, and refits everything from the warships through to trains. There are marine engineers, chandlers, sailmakers, instructors, and the much-sought-after people who can make glass-reinforced plastic do wonderful things. There are four marinas and five research organisations.

Plymouth has also hosted the start and finish of many major sailing events including the Fastnet, Transat, Tall Ships and Clipper Races, making it an internationally renowned centre for many water sports. And Plymouth’s contribution to marine science is unrivalled: its academic institutions continue to be world leaders, attracting prestigious international research grants and working alongside organisations such as NASA. Scientists are delivering some of the most comprehensive marine and earth monitoring projects in the world, as well as sustainable energy technologies. It’s not surprising, then, that many look to the sea to create employment and attract investment in the future. Just as the city itself is undergoing the largest redevelopment since it was rebuilt after the Second World War, so too ambitious targets have been set for the thriving maritime industry, envisaging that it will become one of the main boosters for growth. At the moment it employs over 13,500 people: in the next 20 years it is expected to create many of the 42,500 jobs demanded by the council. Just how ambitious is this? John Hepburn of Maritime Plymouth, which represents the industry, says: “Plymouth has set itself a very ambitious growth target, certainly. The stated aim is to boost the population from

above, from left to right, the many facets of plymouth’s maritime heritage: The famously mutineed Bounty; classic yachts in Sutton Harbour; the Victorious submarine in dock; Sir Francis Drake; Breakwater Fort; yachting in Plymouth Sound; Tamar Bridge; and on board the New Princess cruise ship.



the need to grow maritime leisure “People will be attracted to Plymouth by the promise of boating, and if we can’t meet their needs, they will simply take their money elsewhere.” John Hepburn of Maritime Plymouth

246,000 to 300,000 and create many thousands of jobs, whether from expansion at the largest dockyards or from new one-man bands. “While there are threats to our businesses, and a lot of existing competition, we’re also seeing more and more people take up boating. The maritime leisure sector is experiencing a lot of growth – up to 40% across the UK over the last few years. This should make possible at least a 25% growth in Plymouth’s maritime sector. “What’s certain is that there needs to be a step change. People will be attracted to Plymouth by the promise of boating, and if we can’t meet their needs, they will simply take their money elsewhere. We’ve now got one of the largest undercover dry storage facilities – one example of how we’re raising our game – but we still need more investment if Plymouth is to achieve its aim of becoming one of Europe’s most vibrant waterfront cities.” Some of that investment will be financial,

naturally, but much will be provided as training. Everyone agrees that a skilled workforce is essential to Plymouth retaining its pre-eminent place. Adam Corney, executive director of Marine South West, explains how this can be achieved. “Maritime industries are often thought of as rather traditional – that’s just not the case,” he says. “They’re increasingly technical and specialised and both the people and the companies here have to stay ahead technically to remain competitive and retain a commercial edge. “Plymouth is doing well, but there are threats: the Italians, Germans, Americans and Dutch are all capable mariners. There’s always competition around, of course, but advanced training will help the UK and the city maintain its competitive advantage. Job creation is of course the ultimate aim, but we can achieve that through raising the productivity of the workforce. Upskilling is the only way forward.” So, what skills are required? Corney continues: “We’ve worked very closely with the companies in Plymouth to identify and understand their needs – it’s a demand-led approach. Our centre in Plymouth – one of three – is steered by the local business people who are best placed to identify the challenges the industry is facing, and who act a bit like non-executive directors. We’ve also commissioned a number of surveys to


identify people’s attitudes to certain subjects. What we found is that there’s a very clear demand for further training in engineering, IT, and – not surprisingly given the dangers inherent in working in a maritime environment – health and safety. That was the feedback we got from speaking to hundreds of companies. “Of those subjects, the priority is improving engineering skills, which perhaps were more lacking in the past. Firms like Atlantis Marine Power, for example, are always on the lookout for any new technologies they can adapt and use and we need to help train their employees to do this. “Lots of companies here specialise in complex maritime equipment. It’s often extremely advanced and involves substantial technical issues – for example, one of the challenges we identified was providing skills to work with composite materials. “The whole sector is growing at the moment, and marine leisure is increasingly popular, with new markets opening up in India and China, for example, as those economies expand. We want to make sure people in Plymouth have all the skills they need to exploit this.” In this respect, Plymouth is perhaps better equipped than other cities. The University of Plymouth is uniquely placed to help marine-based companies draw upon the experience, skill and expertise of several long-standing

teams from within the university and beyond, while City College Plymouth’s three Centres of Vocational Excellence includes one in Marine Engineering and Technology. Research and life-long training will lead to real economic development as firms develop and deliver new technologies and products, and, it’s hoped, take the lion’s share of growth in leisure and other related markets. The future has less in common with fishing and more with building BMWs. There’s a long way to go before the city achieves its hugely ambitious goals for growth, but with so many organisations focused on securing the greatest economic benefit from its established strengths in marine activities, Plymouth is uniquely placed to be a world-leading base for everyone who uses the sea for pleasure or profit. ❦

a skilled workforce is essential for Plymouth to retain its preeminent place “Maritime industries are often thought of as rather traditional – that’s just not the case. They’re increasingly technical and specialised and both the people and the companies here have to stay ahead technically to remain competitive and retain a commercial edge.” Adam Corney, executive director of Marine South West



Knowledge is power above: The advanced manufacturing sector is Plymouth’s fourthlargest employer.

Plymouth’s advanced engineering sector is one of its great modern success stories. Noella Pio Kivlehan looks at the initiatives in the pipeline to ensure an even more successful future. Plymouth is known as a number of things: naval base, marine haven, and home to the UK’s fourth-largest university. But, it also has a large hidden facet – its advanced engineering sector, that covers everything from aerospace, automotive and measuring instruments to medical devices and bespoke retail equipment. This sector is the second largest employer in the South West. According to the South West Regional

Development Agency, advanced engineering provides 9.9% towards the region’s GDP, compared with 8.4% nationally, where it is the fourth biggest employer. In Plymouth around 20,000 people – just over 13% of the workforce – are employed in the sector. So what factors make Plymouth so attractive to this sector? Location, geography, a constantly improving infrastructure and extensive city regeneration are all cited by Mike Boxall, secretary of the Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group, an informal group of the larger engineering and manufacturing companies that ➼



provides a channel of communication between members of the group, local authorities and other appropriate organisations. But, what are the prospects for further sector growth in the city? Boxall believes that it is vital to grow smaller new and established local businesses. “I do believe there is room for growth within the sector, but it will come from nurturing the small companies in the area and enabling them to grow and act more successfully. We have been successful in attracting large companies to the city, but with cheaper engineering being offered abroad the chances of attracting more of those companies are not as good. So, we will have to rely on the growth of indigenous firms.” A prime example of one such business is Alderman’s, which provides engineered metalwork and engineering capabilities to assist its clients from concept, through prototyping to manufacture, with continuous product/service development. The business was established in 1969 by Bill Alderman and has been steadily expanding, branching out from its original business as a tool-making company. By 2007 it was

dealing with a variety of industry sectors, including retail, marine, architectural, food and manufacturing. In the last few years, however, it felt the growing onslaught of the increasing competition of cheap manufacturing in Eastern Europe and the Far East. As a result, it shed over 40 jobs. As Boxall points out, this is something that is not only affecting Plymouth advanced engineering companies, but UK companies as a whole. But, rather than see this as the beginning of the end, the company’s managing director Karen Friendship, took it as a challenge, adding that “if we can adapt to current changes then there is work out there for all companies”. She adds: “The pro-active companies who are still here are working the hardest, and they want to try to use local sources. Most of the work that our clients give us is local, within a 20-mile radius.” Friendship sees a key area for expansion being teaching skills to her staff, as well as keeping them informed of the true state of where the business is. “We are getting people involved in projects more often now. We put a lot of time into training, and we have got some of the staff members going through the National Skills Academy. “They get involved in learning about cost-saving issues such as cutting out waste and anything that doesn’t add value to the product. We see it as learning to think outside the box in most cases – and this is something that we need to be doing more and more.” So seriously does Friendship take the learning of new skills that Alderman’s has launched its own skills school. “We have people who are experts in some things, but not all, so we are developing a skills school where everyone can learn off each other.” Teaching and developing skills is also the priority for the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), part of the Department of Trade and Industry, which gives ➼

BELOW left: Learning the ropes at City College. “There is room for growth within the sector, but it will come from nurturing the small companies in the area and enabling them to grow and act more successfully.” Mike Boxall, Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group

Devon & Cornwall Housing supports regeneration in towns and cities. We have a comprehensive range of housing solutions... homes for sale through Westco and developer partnerships; affordable homes to buy (shared equity) and rented housing. Please contact us via our website or telephone Richard Connolly, Group Director of Investment, on 01392 814517



this page: Learning skills at City College Plymouth. Boosting links with higher education facilities, and therefore encouraging knowledge transfer, is a key priority in strengthening the advanced manufacturing sector in the city.

businesses independent practical advice from manufacturing experts, plus grants. MAS is working with the Learning and Skills Council on a project which will see manufacturing firms receiving an audit of their skills requirements, as the first stage in delivering solutions to meet those requirements. The group is a local operation, chaired by Alan Courts, finance director of Plymouth based Rittal-CSM, and including representatives from BAE, Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group, Toshiba Carrier, Gleasons, DML, South West RDA, the University of Plymouth, Learning and Skills Council, and City College Plymouth. The companies in the South West which have taken advantage of MAS advice, increasing turnover and reducing costs, have increased the value by a total of £3.9 million. In a further bid to boost the sector, the MAS has set out several key priorities. These include strengthening links with the university and other higher education organisations in the region, which will be used to encourage knowledge transfer, skills development and commercialisation of research; encouraging the development of higher-value operations, based on local skills and knowledge to enhance competitive advantage; and encouraging the development of local supply chains,

strengthening links between firms and providing opportunities for the growth of smaller companies. With this amount of determination being ploughed into Plymouth, Friendship sees the future as rosy. “The changes in Plymouth are quite exciting, and there is certainly room for new development.” ❦



The GOOD LIFE Most city dwellers dream of a life by the sea but, as Kirsty MacAulay discovers, Plymothians already have the best of both worlds, and a quality of life that we all aspire to. With rising standards of living, the quest for a better quality of life has never been more in the news. But what is it? Although officially measured by social and economic factors, quality of life is not all about how many cars you have and whether you can afford to shop at Waitrose. Three of the big factors in improving perceived quality of life are shorter commute to work, improved natural environment and better schools, which for a lot of people mean relocating. And in October 2007 Plymouth topped the UK Property Shop’s list of favoured locations. James Caslake, director of local property agents Marchand Petit, claims Plymouth is an increasingly popular location: “We get a lot of people relocating. The quality of life here is so good, you can’t beat it! It is a very exciting city and it’s got a fantastic future.” It isn’t hard to see why Plymouth is in demand. Residents get the best of city living, with an array of retail, entertainment and employment options on their doorstep, alongside all the health and leisure benefits of living by the sea and within minutes of Dartmoor National Park. Improving quality of life is at the heart of Plymouth’s regeneration programme. A 2001 study found the majority of residents in Plymouth rated their quality of life as good, with a significant minority regarding it as very good. One of the highest-rated factors was, unsurprisingly, the natural environment. Plymouth City Council’s former head of investment and sector support, Amanda Bembridge, agrees the city’s location and natural environment is one of its biggest assets: “Plymouth sits in an area of outstanding natural beauty. We understand the need to protect and enhance the environment, and we’re very keen to ensure the regeneration harnesses that beauty and doesn’t harm it.” David Mackay’s masterplan for Plymouth will see it revolutionised into ‘one of Europe’s finest, most vibrant waterfront cities’, and Bembridge claims the council has

‘huge, but measured’ plans to build sustainable communities to accommodate the influx of 54,000 people envisioned in Plymouth’s 2020 vision. New homes are under construction in the city centre, housing is planned in the previously derelict Millbay area, and Sherford, a new town, is to be built on the city’s eastern border. Bembridge continues: “We’re keen to see provision of housing suitable for all – family, affordable and executive. We want a good mix of tenure, quality and type, because when you’re seeking to grow a city it is important to get the right balance of accommodation.” Further education is integral to Plymouth’s regeneration and its plans to become a true learning city. Bembridge explains: “We recognise the need to address and develop skills of the workforce – both existing, and potential. We have a very young population, and this is where our entrepreneurs and aspiration will come from. We want to encourage people into further and higher education but we’re looking at the whole continuum – investment in schools, working in partnership with businesses and with sector initiatives to raise aspirations, which is important for where we see the city going.” Plymouth has four HE institutions: the University of Plymouth, City College Plymouth, Plymouth College of Art and Design, and University College of Plymouth St Mark and St John (teacher training). The university – the top modern university in The

from left to right: The leisure pursuits on offer in Plymouth range from a wander in the park; taking in a play at the Theatre Royal; surfing the waves; or taking a trip out to Dartmoor to see the ponies. “Plymouth has one of the most enviable locations of any city in the world” David Mackay masterplanner. The close proximity to the sea and Dartmoor mean the variety and availability of leisure activities are second to none

Guardian’s 2007 league tables – accommodates 30,000 students and 3,000 staff. Its ultra-modern Roland Levinsky building, which houses the faculty of art, won best building in last year’s Abercrombie Awards. Two other buildings are under construction: the Rolle building, which will incorporate the faculty of education relocating from Exmouth, and the Nancy Astor building which will house the faculty of health and social work. The city is keen to retain its postgraduates, and while it is still struggling in some fields, Bembridge believes some sectors, particularly the creative industries, have turned a corner, thanks to key employers. Viv Gillespie, principal of City College Plymouth, believes its strong links with local businesses will play an important role. “The college can help directly with regeneration by training those involved in the process and indirectly by providing training for businesses as they grow or relocate here,” she says. “Plymouth is a city that is going places – it has a feeling of optimism and a great location!” This sentiment is echoed by masterplanner David Mackay, who said: “Plymouth has one of the most enviable locations of any city in the world”. The close proximity to the sea and Dartmoor mean the variety and availability of leisure activities are second to none. As MD of the council’s City Centre Company David Draffan

points out: “Plymouth is not a conurbation – in every direction it’s surrounded by green land or the sea – but residents still get the benefits of living in the city. There is an incredible work/life balance: the quality of life here offsets anything the city might not have.” The list of recreational activities is long. Water babies can indulge in sailing, surfing, canoeing, diving or just swimming, while the moors and coastal paths offer fantastic cycling, horse riding and hiking paths. For those who prefer spectator sports there are local football, rugby and basketball teams. Culture vultures can enjoy ballet, theatre, opera and art exhibitions and regular events, such as the three-month-long summer festival, which brings together the vast range of maritime, music, arts and street events taking place over the summer months. Last year it included the Plymouth Flavour Fest food festival, the National Fireworks Championships, and stadium performances by Elton John and George Michael. What’s more there is the aquarium, Smeaton’s Tower and the lido. Or, if all else fails, there is always shopping. Plymouth’s retail centre is undergoing a huge renaissance. Draffan claims that although it was one of the largest shopping centres in the west of England in the 1950s and 60s it had stagnated until recently. He explains: “With a catchment area of 750,000 it is a very significant retail centre. Until recently, though, it didn’t have enough big names and many of the flagship retail-



above: Plymouth Hoe, a unique setting. below, left to right: The city is home to anything from fireworks competitions to Brittany Ferries.

facts of life ers were too small to service the catchment size, which effectively meant Plymouth was exporting shoppers.” This situation was turned around with the arrival of Drake Circus shopping centre in 2006, which has enticed big names to Plymouth and created large retail units for its flagship stores. Draffan is pleased that Plymouth is operating as a regional centre again and believes it has the edge over other cities. “Town centres are increasingly homogenous,” he says. “Plymouth has a large number of independent stores and market stalls – in terms of scale, there is nowhere close by to beat it.” To create a more attractive environment for shoppers and workers the council has invested in public realm. As Draffan says: “All cities that have been regenerated over the past 10 years started with serious investment in public realm. Plymouth Council has put its money where its mouth is, upgrading public space as a trigger for redevelopment. The city centre has evolved as a cultural centre and is starting to develop a residential element. This is a huge opportunity for developers: the economy here has been underperforming for so long – it needs a change.” Now, that change is on the way. ❦

n Population growth, from 246,000 to 300,000 by 2026 n 33,000 new homes expected by 2026 n 75 primary schools n 17 secondary schools, including three grammar and eight special schools n 42.5% of pupils gained five or more GCSE grades A*-C n University of Plymouth is the UK’s fourth largest university n 954sq km of open space at Dartmoor National Park n Unemployment is 2.5% compared to 2.3% nationally n Gross weekly full-time earnings £420 compared to national average of £448.60 Journey time to London n By road – 4 hours n By rail – 3.5 hours n By air – 1.45 hours

Plymouth - City of Oppor tunity

Plymouth is moving through an exciting period of transformation and change Plymouth offers the perfect blend of business opportunities, quality of life, natural beauty, heritage and culture. Together with a growth agenda that will see its population substantially increase and large areas of the city transformed through exciting projects, this will contribute greatly to achieving its vision to be one of Europe’s finest, most vibrant waterfront cities.

Plymouth is on the edge of delivering major investment and growth opportunities.

Councillor Ted Fry, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council.

The anticipated growth in Plymouth over the next 20 years includes:

� an anticipated investment in excess of £1 billion � around 30,000 new homes in the city and surrounding area � 42,500 new jobs created � an increase in population of over 50,000 Plymouth is a world-renowned centre of excellence for marine science, a key part of its growing knowledge-based economy, with additional

strengths in medical, healthcare, creative and advanced engineering. Ranked top modern university in the UK by the Guardian, Plymouth is also a national leader for teaching excellence. This achievement has helped it secure an extra £33 million funding over the next five years. With around 30,000 students the University of Plymouth is one of the largest universities in the UK and brings immense vibrancy and excitement to the city centre. Plymouth is proud of its outstanding quality of life, and is one of the few cities where a true balance of business and pleasure can be achieved. To find out more about Plymouth’s exciting future, visit our website: or contact the Investment and Sector Support Team or 01752 304885 The Plymouth City of Opportunity CD-ROM is also available on request

Once Plymouth discovered a New World. Now the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s discovering Plymouth. King Sturge is proud to be at the forefront of the exciting new developments all over Plymouth and the surrounding area. To find out more please contact Andrew Bullivant on +44 (0)1752 202121

65 Southside Street, The Barbican, Plymouth Devon PL1 2LA Telephone: +44 (0)1752 202121

Opportunity Plymouth #1  

Regeneration, investment and development in Plymouth, Devon

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