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Answering further queries raised

We’re four weeks into the consultation and there are two more weeks to go. The team have been out talking to people and we’ve received a few queries online.

A consultation should always be an evolving process where we listen, learn and act to respond to queries raised, so we hope that the information below is of help.

These have been added to the FAQs on the website.

Nature and Greenery

What happened to the chippings from the trees that were felled earlier this year?

In March, on the night of the felling, the chippings were taken to a biomass facility. Following the clear up in September, the chippings were taken to a depot in the city so they can be used around the city’s allotments and community gardens in the future. Unfortunately, the storage space filled up quicker than expected so the council made the decision to the surplus chippings to a biomass facility.

How much green space is there compared to the previous proposal?

With the site area measuring some 24,550m2 we’ve calculated the following areas of greenery:

• Previous Proposal – 5,073m2 which equates to approximately 21% green coverage.

• Revised Proposal – 4,910m2 which equates to approximately 20% green coverage.

This reduction (circa 163m2) is as a direct result of the increased scale of the play area.

Is there a construction method statement, that outlines how the work will be undertaken and protect the remaining trees?

Once the final design has been approved, a construction method statement will be prepared, along with all the other contractual documents required. These will take into account the remaining trees and any legal restrictions in place at the time.

What is the rationale for translocation and how will it be done?

Over the past few months the Council has been working with external environmental consultants, including a qualified arboriculturist, to develop a detailed translocation plan. The plan looks at each of the individual trees in greater depth, in relation to the proposed design – including the impact of the SuDs scheme and cycle path on the trees. On the 8 November 2023, a final report was received by the Council and it was agreed to publish the document as additional supplementary information as part of the current consultation. It includes a schematic plan with further explanation for the reasons for the proposed translocation of the individual trees. You can find the report at the bottom of the Nature and Greenery page here.

What is the biodiversity net gain for the scheme?

It is our intention to achieve a biodiversity net gain of 20 per cent through the regeneration of Armada Way. Following the consultation, when feedback has been considered and relevant revisions have been made to the design, the final calculations will be made and published as part of the decision making process in early 2024.

General

How will the scheme be maintained / managed?

A new section around maintenance was published on 20 October 2023. You can find more information here.

Are plans in place to deal with the many empty properties?

We are always keen to hear from businesses interested opening up in Plymouth’s city centre. Recent announcements from British Land about the arrival of Mango, Rituals, Quiz, Levi’s, Sea Salt, Spinners and Oliver Bonas in Drake Circus show that the city centre continues to attract interest from new high street names.

There have also been new openings in the high street, including Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Chopstix in New George Street and Rieker Shoes in Cornwall Street as well as several smaller businesses opening in the West End.

Where the Council has bought buildings recently, e.g. Raleigh Street, they have been able to find tenants for units there were previously empty by taking a sensible approach to the rents we charge. In Raleigh Street we secured three new tenants: a barbers, milkshake place and school clothes store – all were empty units beforehand. We have also worked with Plymouth Culture, the City Centre Company and Vacancy Atlas to fill vacant spaces with cultural projects.

In the long term we aim to create new experiences to get more people to spend more time in the city centre as well as improve and expand the city centre night time economy.

We cannot force companies and retailers to open up shops in the city centre. We can, however, create the right environment and make a location more attractive to interested investors, which is why the Council is so committed to improving Armada Way.

How do you view the changing face of the city concerning business - specifically retail - and what is being done to accommodate these changes?

The High Street has changed dramatically over the last decade or so. Long before the pandemic, the rise of online shopping had already had a negative impact on high streets up and down the country. We can’t force shops to open in Plymouth, but we can create conditions which encourages them to come to Plymouth.

One of Plymouth’s long-standing issues is that its city centre footprint is massive – equivalent to Manchester’s central shopping area but without the population to support it. We want to change the mix that the city centre offers, attract more people to live here, spend their leisure time here, eat and drink. We want to broaden the offer so that the city centre has much more to offer as well as great shopping.

The rateable value (ie: Business Rates) is set by the Valuation Office Agency and the Council issues bills based on these values. While the Council is a freeholder of retail properties in the city centre, the vast majority of units are subject to long leasehold interests. The Council has very little control over the day to day management of these properties and the rents charged, which are set by the leaseholders in lettings to third parties.

Play Village

What play equipment will be suitable for children with disabilities?

The play equipment highlighted in the main Play Village is indicative and not finalised. As part of this consultation, we want to hear from families, particularly those who have children with disabilities, to ensure that the equipment selected in the final design is accessible for as many children as possible. In these indicative designs, the proposed basket swing and spinner bowl are suitable for children with disabilities, along with the wooden huts (which would incorporate a ramp).

What is being proposed in the sensory garden?

As part of the Play Village we are also proposing a sensory green play area. This play location is specifically designed to be separate to the main play so it will be a quieter and calmer space for children who are neurodiverse. We are proposing that this space will incorporate varying surface finishes, two levels of grass for texture and interest, bark mulch path/area and a sand area. A sound stone is also proposed in the sand pit. In addition, we aim to include specialised audio play equipment, such as a singing stone, windpipes, impulse spheres and tubular chimes.

As with the main play area, we are keen to hear from families in this consultation who have children that are neurodiverse. This is to ensure that the final selection of play equipment are the most suitable options. The sensory garden Is located around the restored Phoenix fountain and will consist of plants to specifically stimulate the senses through touch and scent. The raised bed for the fountain will also incorporate a braille message to reflect the history of the garden.

The consultation is open until Tuesday 28 November 2023. To see the proposals and have your say online, go to: Let's Talk Armada Way

Posted on 15th November 2023

by ECF