Plans for an eco-friendly new neighbourhood in the heart of Plymouth city centre which will create 136 affordable homes for local people to rent and buy have been approved.
Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) has been awarded full planning permission from Plymouth City Council to develop land off Bath Street in the Millbay regeneration area and deliver much-needed new affordable homes for social rent and shared ownership purchase.
PCH will work in close partnership with Plymouth City Council to fund and deliver the scheme, furthering the authority’s objective to provide new affordable homes for Plymouth whilst supporting the masterplan for the Millbay area to see residential led, mixed-use development of this site, currently used as a temporary car park bordering Martin Street.
The £33.5million scheme involves a new community being created in the city centre offering a range of energy-efficient and affordable new homes, along with businesses, communal gardens and children’s play areas in open green spaces.
There will be 86 homes made available for social rent by local people in housing need through PCH, with 54 offered for shared ownership purchase through SO Living, and four commercial units made available for lease.
Construction on the first phase is expected to start next spring. The initial section to be completed will deliver 51 homes for social rent and 29 for shared ownership.
Homes will be surrounded by cycle paths with bike stores and pedestrian footpaths to help create a sustainable, low-carbon neighbourhood, and the new community will help to complete the planned Millbay Boulevard scheme, connecting Plymouth’s coastal quarter to the city centre.
The scheme forms part of the partnership agreement between PCH and Plymouth City Council which aims to deliver more than 600 new homes for Plymouth, with at least 444 for affordable housing.
PCH is acquiring the site, primarily owned by Plymouth City Council, with support provided through partnership working with Homes England, which is engaged with the project and providing expertise and support.
Jonathan Cowie, Chief Executive at Plymouth Community Homes, said: “It’s fantastic news to have secured full planning permission for this exciting new development, which will see a poorly used inner city site transformed into a green neighbourhood with play areas and welcoming, open community spaces, and we are very grateful to our partners on this project, Plymouth City Council, in helping us to bring these plans forward, as well as to Homes England for their partnership working and support.
“We look forward to being able to deliver 136 modern, comfortable and energy-efficient new homes for the people of Plymouth and help address the growing need in the city for good quality affordable housing.”
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Housing, Cooperative Development and Communities at Plymouth City Council, said: “This couldn’t come at a better time. We have made no secret of the fact we as a city are facing a housing crisis, so to learn that this sizeable and affordable development has got the green light is terrific news.
“This site has been earmarked for regeneration for some time and is part of the city’s vision is to repopulate the city centre and make it a vibrant, exciting place to live in and enjoy, not just shop during the daytime.
“Not only will this scheme create homes, it will breathe new life into this part of the city centre. I can’t wait to see work start on site.”
Jonathan Turner, Head of Planning and Enabling at Homes England, said: “It is great to see regeneration of this key site now coming forward, subject to approval of grant funding this site will deliver much-needed affordable homes in the heart of Plymouth city centre, creating a place people are proud to call home.”
The Bath Street scheme will feature a mixture of 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments, townhouses and mews houses developed in buildings ranging from three to five storeys. All homes will enjoy private outside space with either decked balconies or private gardens, and the development also features allotment-style growing spaces and high quality communal gardens with lawns, herbaceous perennials, shrubs and trees.
Parking provision is included in the scheme in line with planning guidance for sustainable city centre developments, with 26 on-site spaces, including 4 disabled parking spaces, electric vehicle charging points and six drop off bays.
The plans allow for one cycle parking space per home, as well as a dedicated bike store for the townhouses and ground floor duplexes.
Homes will be developed with a fabric-first approach to ensure reduced energy costs for residents.
Adam Darby, associate architect at global design practice BDP in the South West, the architect and lead consultant on Bath Street, said: “The regeneration of this large brownfield site in the heart of Plymouth city centre will provide much-needed, high quality new homes, all with outside space, as part of a highly sustainable, low carbon new neighbourhood.
“Our approach will promote healthy living and sustainable transport methods, with pedestrian and cycle friendly areas, as well as proving plenty of green open space, new tree planting and engaging and secure children’s play areas that are integrated with the surrounding natural landscape. We are delighted with the granting of consent for this important scheme.”
BDP has significant experience in the regeneration and housing sectors, with recent projects including innovative new affordable eco-home concept the Gap House, set to be built on disused garage plots in Bristol.