It was Isambard Kingdom Brunel who first realised the potential of the Millbay docks in the 19th century, building Plymouth’s piers and the inner harbour basin to welcome trade from the world. Today, the English Cities Fund has restored Brunel’s docks to make a new waterfront district for commerce, creative learning, seaside living and, of course, sitting on the dock of the bay.
With a total end value of £215 million and planning consent for over 1.5 million sq ft of development, the Millbay scheme is transforming a declining docklands area on the Plymouth city fringe into a mixed-use harbour community that celebrates its heritage.
Through the four phases of development delivered to date, Millbay already consists of over 400 homes, 43,000 sq ft of business space, the refurbished 171-berth King Point Marina and Dock Restaurant, and the 1,000-pupil Plymouth School of Creative Arts – one of the first ‘free schools’ in the country. Among the affordable homes delivered, 82 will be for specialist dementia care.
The Millbay regeneration programme captures exactly how our long-term partnership approach makes the difference. The fund has taken on major infrastructure works – from a £4.5 million dredging of the harbour, to constructing part of a new boulevard connecting to the city centre – while carefully piecing together land and funding with Plymouth City Council, Homes England, the Educational Funding Agency and other investors.
The future of Millbay is at least as bright as its proud history. The final development is set to deliver up to 700 new homes, up to 50,000 sq ft of offices and over 90,000 sq ft of retail/ leisure space, alongside a hotel and a multi-storey car park.
"The determination and vision of the English Cities Fund has enabled us to deliver long-term economic benefits to the city, thanks to the redevelopment of the Millbay district."
Anthony Payne, strategic director for place at Plymouth City Council