15 March 2017

A New North Road?

Over the next couple of days I will be catching up on a few older railway news stories from the last month or so…

The journey to create a better welcome for Plymouth’s 2.5 million rail passengers will be able to start, thanks to the Government cash boost of £43.57 million to the Heart of the South West LEP to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth. Plymouth looks set to get around £4.7 million towards the cost of the redevelopment which could transform the station.

Partners have been working on concepts to dramatically regenerate the city’s tired railway station to give a better welcome to Britain’s Ocean City. And the announcement means that the detailed work on the first phase can begin in earnest. Design concepts were unveiled earlier this year for a renewal and regeneration project for the station which has not had a significant redesign since the 1960s.

They showed the entrance from North Hill transformed from a side road with an old British Rail sign, to a modern complex which combines a sense of arrival with shop and offices. The entire redevelopment could cover over 23,000 sq m (250,000 sq ft) and entail almost 1,000 sq m (10,000 sq ft) of new concourse. It would also

  • entail the demolition of the existing multi storey car park
  • create a high quality public realm to create a sense of place for the station
  • have improved car parking, bus and taxi facilities
  • education and leisure space
  • office space
  • better links to the City Centre

Covered escalators and lifts could link the new square with the City Centre and making this route for passengers more direct, clear and attractive. A new space could be created at the top of Armada Way offering incredible views down towards the waterfront.

A new landmark building would give the station visible presence from the City Centre as well as significant office and retail space.

Council leader Ian Bowyer said: “As Britain’s Ocean City we have one of the best – if not the best – view in the country. But when people arrive here by rail, their first impression is a 1960s multi-storey car park.

“We want to change this and to overhaul the railway station completely. We want to create a sense of arrival at what is the busiest railway station South West of Bristol.”

The Council is working closely with Network Rail, GWR and the University of Plymouth to redevelop the location so that it regenerates the area, attracts wider inward investment and contributes to the economic development of Plymouth.

Matthew Golton, Commercial Development Director for Great Western Railway said: “This year marks the start of the biggest fleet upgrade in a generation across the GWR network. With faster, more frequent services planned, new trains destined for Devon and Cornwall under construction, and the refresh of other trains underway, it is right that Plymouth station also shares in this transformation.

“We are delighted to be working with the city and other partners on these exciting plans.”

The scheme would also include improved pedestrian and cycle links to the City Centre as well as create significant public and commercial opportunities for enterprise and job creation.

The organisations involved have committed to supporting each other’s grant funding applications as well as joining forces and sharing resources, where possible, when commissioning the necessary technical surveys of the location.
Through the One Public Estate grant, the Cabinet Office has provided £500,000 to enable feasibility and planning work to be carried out on the project, while also identifying any further opportunities.

Plymouth (North Road) station

© Hugh Llewelyn (cc)

I think as long as I can remember living in Plymouth there have been plans for a revamp of Plymouth Station. It certainly needs it. Hopefully its now sounding more promising and this time it may even come to something.

What do people think?

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