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Council listens to feedback in final design of Armada Way

Ten key changes are proposed to the final design for Armada Way, following one of the biggest listening exercises the Council has ever undertaken, enabling the scheme to move forward to the next milestone.

Following extensive review of the feedback received through the survey, written submissions and interviews with key stakeholders, the Council is proposing 10 amendments within the final scheme design, which will be scrutinised by the Growth and Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 22 January 2024.

These changes include:

  • Retention of two extra existing trees – T007 Cockspur Thorn and T118 – Hybrid Whitebeam which can now be accommodated following changes to the design in their respective locations. This now results in only four trees being translocated from Armada Way to The Park. This responds to the desire of some environmental groups and a large number of individuals who requested that more of the existing trees are retained in their current location to retain canopy cover or fears relating to risk of survival, and or cost of translocating trees
  • Some tree species selection has been modified. This includes changing the proposed single ‘Tree of Heaven’ to a London Plane tree.
  • The final design includes an increased amount of accessible green space which is beyond that of the design of the scheme which was consulted on.
  • Removal of two east-west pedestrian footpaths to reduce conflict of two separate paths crossing the cycle way at the point of chicane. This will make the space safer for both pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Changing of the colour of the granite denoting the cycle way to a dark pink hue to provide a strong visual differentiation to the other pedestrian areas.
  • The new scheme will include a considerable amount of extra cycle parking in the form of stands and cycle hoops onto lamp columns.
  • Further changes will be made to the pedestrian and cycle wayfinding to enable the cycle way and its use to be very clearly demarcated. This is in addition to the already proposed wayfinding monoliths and in-ground way markers but will include other pedestrian level markers and directional infrastructure. This will make the space safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • The final scheme includes for the addition of a minimum of one drinking water station on Armada Way which will help reduce the use of single plastics and align with Plymouth’s Plan for Plastics. In addition, fewer plastic bottles could also reduce city centre littering.
  • An increased amount of seating has been added to the play village area to ensure that there is enough seating opportunity for parents and carers whose children want to use the facilities. A variety of seating with high backs and arm rests is being added in response to requests from older people
  • Defibrillator(s) will be installed on Armada Way. There are currently a number of defibrillators across the wider city centre area, but none on Armada Way directly.
  • The report has been published here - including information about the consultation and feedback. Hard copies of the reports will be available from Tuesday in Central Library on Armada Way, until the committee meeting.

    To read the full press release from Plymouth City Council, go to: Council listens to feedback in final design of Armada Way

    Posted on 15th January 2024

    by ECF

    Armada Way future will be fully scrutinised in New Year

    New proposals for Armada Way will be thoroughly scrutinised through the Council’s democratic processes before any final decision on the design is made.

    To ensure full scrutiny and consideration of the proposals, the future of Armada Way will be considered by a special meeting of the Growth and Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Committee before being discussed by Cabinet ahead of a final decision on the scheme.

    The completion of a six-week consultation was undertaken this autumn by ECF, independent engagement specialists. ECF have been analysing all the feedback. This has been compiled into a report which has now been submitted to the Council. Officers and members will consider all the views and review the design in light of the feedback.

    On 22 January, the Growth and Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Committee will scrutinise a raft of materials – including the feedback raised in the consultation and the Council’s response to each of the key themes raised. This includes any amends and adjustments made to the scheme as a result.

    The views and any recommendations from this cross-party Committee, will then be presented to Cabinet on 5 February for consideration.

    At a subsequent Cabinet meeting on 19 February, the final scheme will be presented, which will include consideration of the recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and a final decision will be made.

    Reports will be published in advance of all meetings and sessions will be broadcast live online. Anyone wanting to make representations at the meetings can see the process to do so here.

    The Let’s Talk Armada Way website will stay live throughout this process and you can still sign-up to receive updateson the website to make sure you are kept in the loop.

    To read the full press release from Plymouth City Council, go to: Armada Way future will be fully scrutinised in New Year

    Posted on 4th January 2024

    by ECF

    Five days to go for Armada Way consultation

    There are just five days left to have your say in the consultation on the proposals for Armada Way.

    Over the past six weeks, hundreds of people have been having their say on the designs that aim to create a greener, safer and more family friendly city centre – bringing life back to the heart of Plymouth.

    The proposed designs:

  • Recapture the scale and grandeur of Armada Way
  • Include more trees and greenery
  • Include a huge destination play village for families
  • Will help wildlife and nature
  • Works smartly to deal with the city’s rainwater
  • Has improved safety for all
  • Has more places to sit, relax and eat
  • Includes a new cycling path for people of all abilities
  • Has plenty of pop-up spaces with water and power
  • If you are yet to have your say, you have until 5pm on the 28 November 2023.

    Hear other people’s views about the Armada Way proposals:

  • Councillor Tudor Evans
  • James Mackenzie Blackman – CEO Theatre Royal Plymouth
  • Adam King – Landscape Architect YGS Environmental Consultants
  • Chris Robinson – Local historian
  • SuDs scheme explainer
  • View from local businesses
  • To read the full press release from Plymouth City Council, go to: One week countdown for Armada Way Consultation

    To see the proposals and have your say online, go to: Let's Talk Armada Way

    Posted on 23rd November 2023

    by ECF

    Smart system to stop city centre pollution flowing into the Sound

    Safeguarding the city centre from the risks of future flooding and reducing the amount of pollution flowing into the Sound, are the main benefits of the new water management system proposed for Armada Way.

    The sustainable urban drainage system (SuDS) proposed for Armada Way has been recognised by the Environment Agency as a smart and sustainable way of reducing pollution, easing pressure on the local sewer system and re-using rainwater to water plants and trees.

    As part of the current consultation on the proposals for Armada Way, Plymouth City Council is proposing an innovative system that would use rain gardens along Armada Way and huge underground storage tanks. These tanks would fill with rainwater after being filtered through a series of natural reed beds. The water would then be recirculated around Armada Way through an ornamental stream, which would run the length of the proposed scheme.

    The system would be powered by new solar canopies based at Place de Brest, and on either side of the toilets. This is part of the new administration’s commitment to boost renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions.

    To learn more about the SuDS scheme go to: Understanding the SuDS scheme

    To read the full press release from Plymouth City Council go to: Smart system to stop city centre pollution flowing into the Sound

    To see the proposals and have your say online, go to: Let's Talk Armada Way

    The schematic of the proposed SuDS plan can be found on the final page of the Armada Way Tree Translocation Assessment document. This document can be found at the bottom of the Nature and Greenery page here.

    Posted on 17th November 2023

    by ECF

    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.


    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

    Armada Way design is homage to the past

    In 1943, one of the country’s leading architect/planners, Professor Patrick Abercrombie and James Paton Watson, a city engineer and surveyor, produced a proposal called ‘A Plan For Plymouth’. They outlined how they thought the city centre should evolve, post the Blitz.

    The original scheme proposed a new Armada Way, which would be a kilometre long processional, pedestrianised tree-lined route for the people of Plymouth, running directly through the commercial centre, bisected by the smaller streets of the grid.

    The idea was that visitors arriving by rail would have a clear route into the city centre along this key axis, with the view to the Hoe and the memorial as a constantly visible landmark.

    Because the original post-war regeneration and removing all the Blitz damaged buildings took so long, the original simple vision was lost. The last major update in the city centre was in the 1980s and took little account of this vision.

    The new proposal, which is currently out for public consultation, seeks to mirror the original design.

    Local historian, Chris Robinson is an expert in the history of Plymouth and has written a number of books about the city centre. In a recent video he praised the Council on their current designs. He said: “What’s brilliant is that the vision in this new design is as good as, if not better than the original. We can create something that leads people in a direct line, from the train station all the way to the war memorial".

    To see the proposals and have your say online, go to: Let's Talk Armada Way

    To hear about the history of Plymouth's path to the sound from Chris Robinson, Local Plymouth historian go to: The history of Plymouth's path to the sound

    To read the full press release from Plymouth City Council go to: Armada Way design is homage to the past

    Posted on 7th November 2023

    by ECF

    Over 200 trees proposed to spruce up Armada Way

    For those pining for more mature, taller trees on Armada Way, the Council has listened and more than 200 trees now feature in its current proposals for the scheme.

    The plans, which are currently being consulted on, propose a total of 202 trees in the north of Armada Way (between Royal Parade and North Cross Roundabout). Whilst many of these would be new trees, we have also found a way to keep the majority of the trees that were due to be felled earlier this year. The new proposals include a considerably higher number of trees on Armada Way – which was 153 before the felling and 174 trees in the original, now scrapped, design.

    All the trees when planted will be at a height of between 3.5 to 8 metres (or 11 to 27 feet) and will be selected for their suitability for an urban landscape. They will grow significantly over time.

    The principle of ‘right tree, right place’ has been integral to the design. And, following feedback from local environmental groups, species have been carefully selected so that they can thrive in an urban environment and changing climate. Some have been picked for particular wildlife appeal and others for their shady canopy or beautiful blossom and leaves. Species include; Field Maple, Gold and Himalayan Birch, Scots Pine, Love Tree, Silver Birch and Norway Maple.

    To see the proposals and have your say online, go to: Let's Talk Armada Way

    To hear about the vision for the trees from Adam King, Landscape Architect, YGS go to: Vision for the trees

    To read the full press release from Plymouth City Council go to: Over 200 trees proposed to spruce up Armada Way

    Posted on 2nd November 2023

    by ECF

    Answering queries raised so far

    So we’re only a few days into the consultation and the response rate has been fantastic. The team have been out and about talking to people and there have been lots of discussions online, which is good to see. From all of this activity some queries have been raised and some technical glitches identified, which we have addressed. 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 too.


    How will the scheme be maintained to ensure it stays looking attractive?

    The Council is committed to ensuring that the new Armada Way is well maintained and would become one of the flagship destinations in the city.

    We are currently exploring all the different options for maintenance and the associated detail. A comprehensive maintenance plan will be published, along with the final design for Armada Way and all the associated costs, as part of the decision-making process early in 2024.

    What is being done for people with disabilities? The pathways do not look wide enough of accessible for people with disabilities?

    Ensuring that Armada Way is open and accessible to people of all abilities is integral to the design. The flat walkways either side of Armada Way are 6m wide, and 4m at the point where the existing trees remain by the play village, the pathway running through the middle of the scheme would be 2.5m wide. This ensures that people with mobility aids e.g. wheelchairs, will easily be able to travel and pass by others.

    The play village has been designed to include equipment and spaces that are accessible to children with disabilities.

    As part of this consultation, we are keen to hear from people with disabilities and ECF are working closely with local groups and organisations to invite them to have their say. ECF are also holding workshops specifically with people with disabilities and attending local events to promote the consultation.

    How long will it take to build the new scheme?

    Subject to the decision-making process in early 2024, it is hoped that construction would commence in the spring and would take approximately 18 months to complete. It would be undertaken in phases, to ensure that spaces are reopened swiftly when they are completed.

    How is the proposed scheme being funded and how much will it cost?

    We are still finalising the costs for the new scheme, and we won’t be able to complete that work until we have finished the consultation, considered all the feedback and made any amendments to the scheme that need to be made. The previously proposed scheme cost £12.7 million. The new, improved and more ambitious design is likely to exceed that. Some funding (£2.7 million) is from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF). The Council has already committed £10m match funding as part of the TCF grant process. Any further funding will be from Plymouth City Council’s Capital budget.

    Consultation Process

    Will the ‘free text’ comments be processed?

    All the information submitted as part of the online survey – including the multiple-choice questions and the free text will be considered as part of this consultation. No comments or feedback submitted via the portal or in the stakeholder meetings / workshops will be discarded or ignored.

    I am not interested / or don’t like the proposed play scheme and want to make my views known.

    We are aware that there has been some misunderstanding about the questions in the consultation regarding the play scheme. Question 12 asks people if they are interested in the play scheme and why.

    For people not interested in the play scheme, they can select option F and skip through all the other questions regarding the play scheme to the next section. After question 12, none of the play scheme questions are compulsory.

    If people have comments they would like to make about the play scheme and there is not a suitable option in question 12 – there is a comment box where all feedback can be included.

    To avoid any further confusion, clear guidance has been added to each question.

    Nature and Greenery

    How fast will the trees grow?

    In our nature and greenery section of this website, it includes detailed information about each of the trees. This includes the estimated height of each tree when planted. It is anticipated that on average the trees will reach their maximum growth in approximately 20-50 years (depending on their species). The CGI graphics in this consultation, show what the trees would look like when they are planted.

    How tall will the trees be?

    All the trees when planted will be at a height of between 3.5 to 8 metres (or 11 to 27 feet) and will be selected for their suitability for an urban landscape. They will grow significantly over time.

    Who are our landscape architects?

    The architects for the scheme are Studio Agora. The Landscape Architects are Rathbone Partnership and YGS Landscapes.

    Why was translocation ruled out for the previous scheme and is now considered as a viable option?

    In the development of the previous proposals for Armada Way, the council considered moving around 27 trees. Translocation was not considered viable for that substantial number of trees.

    As part of this scheme we are only proposing to move six trees and we have spent lot of time over the past few months looking at how we can make it in work. We are proposing to move (translocate) the trees to enable the installation of the new sustainable urban drainage system, and the proposed 12-metre-wide cycling and pedestrian route through the centre. Therefore, we have commissioned experts to outline all the options and recommend how they think we can do it successfully.

    We have not only looked at how we move them, but crucially we have considered their new home, and what we need to do ensure their survival.

    Lighting and CCTV

    How will anti-social behaviour be addressed?

    Armada Way is currently dark at night and has gloomy hidden spaces and we hope that our exciting new lighting proposals will transform this space. We want Armada Way to have a a new, thriving night-time economy. The more people who are enjoying an area, the safer people feel.

    By installing new CCTV cameras, and better views for existing cameras, we will be able to work with the police to ensure that areas such as the play village will not be a target for those wishing to damage or display anti-social behaviour.


    Does the proposed cycle path stop outside Oggy Oggy?

    No – the cycle path runs from the top of Armada Way (Copthorne Hotel end) to the Sundial.

    To download a PDF of the full route, go to: Cycle Path and Mobility Hub

    The cycle path will be clearly marked with signage and grey coloured paving throughout.

    Posted on 20th October 2023

    by ECF

    Proposals launched for a vibrant, green, safe and fun Armada Way

    Today (17th of October) marks the launch of the six-week consultation on the plans for Armada Way.

    The proposed designs:

  • Recapture the scale and grandeur of Armada Way – providing a gateway to the city centre, linking the train station to The Hoe.
  • Include more trees and greenery – 50 more trees than there were previously on Armada Way (before the felling). The new trees will all be 3.5 to 8 metres high when planted, to give immediate environmental benefits and a canopy to provide cover.
  • Include a huge destination play village for families – that will be the size of five tennis courts, full of spaces to run, splash, balance, swing, climb, relax and sit, for children of all ages and their carers / parents to enjoy.
  • Will help wildlife and nature – there will be a variety of trees providing a range of habitats, shrubs, wildflowers and reed beds, as well as bug hotels and bird boxes.
  • Works smartly to deal with the city’s rainwater – includes a new surface water drainage system, powered by solar panels to make it sustainable. It will recycle the water to maintain the plants and trees.
  • Has improved safety for all – the installation of 12 and 15 metre high lighting throughout and feature lighting to up-light plants and create patterns on the ground. A much-improved CCTV system will help to deter anti-social behaviour.
  • Has more places to sit, relax and eat – there will be space for 500 people to sit.
  • Includes a new cycling path for people of all abilities – a new cycle path is proposed to cater for cyclists of all abilities, with cycle racks and Beryl Bike hubs.
  • Has plenty of pop-up spaces with water and power – pop-up spaces for retail, arts and entertainment.
  • To see the proposals and have your say online, go to: Let's Talk Armada Way

    To read the press release from Plymouth City Council, go to: Proposals launched for a vibrant, green, safe and fun Armada Way

    Posted on 17th October 2023

    by ECF