Plymouth Community Homes, the city’s largest social housing landlord, has revealed plans for a £33.5million eco-friendly neighbourhood in partnership with Plymouth City Council offering more than 140 new affordable homes in the heart of the city centre to rent and buy.
A mixture of 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments and townhouses will be developed on land off Bath Street in the Millbay regeneration area adjacent to Plymouth city centre, with modern, energy-efficient homes bordering communal gardens and tree-lined open spaces.
The site, currently being used as a temporary car park bordering Martin Street as well as for some commercial properties, is primarily owned by Plymouth City Council and has been earmarked for residential-led, mixed-use development.
Once regenerated, the area will complete the planned Millbay Boulevard scheme, which will connect the newly created coastal quarter to Plymouth city centre.
The plans from PCH propose developing more than 140 homes within staggered height blocks built around large communal gardens and surrounded by open spaces lined with trees to providing welcoming green areas for residents.
The majority of homes will be available for affordable rent, with an estimated 20% of the properties offered for shared ownership sale through PCH’s sales brand SO Living. Some may also be available through the Government’s Rent to Buy scheme.
This project is one of many included within the partnership agreement between Plymouth City Council and Plymouth Community Homes, which aims to deliver more than 600 new homes in Plymouth, with at least 444 for affordable housing.
The site acquisition was enabled through partnership working with Homes England, who remain engaged with the project and continue to provide expertise and support.
Nick Jackson, Director of Business Services and Development at PCH, said: “As Plymouth’s largest housing association, we are proud to provide a high standard of homes for affordable rent and shared ownership purchase at a time when there is a significant need for good quality social housing.
“The sustainable development planned for Bath Street will revitalise an under-used city centre site and further the regeneration of the Millbay area whilst creating modern, energy-efficient homes to help us meet the high demand for affordable housing in the city.
“Our proposal has been carefully designed in consultation with the city council to complement existing new development in the area, as well as creating new green open spaces and communal gardens for residents.”
All properties will enjoy either balconies or private gardens, and a row of three-storey town houses will benefit from built-in garages. Parking provision, including disabled parking, has been included in line with planning guidance for sustainable city centre developments.
Homes will be developed with a fabric-first approach to ensure reduced energy costs for residents. The majority of homes will be dual aspect, and there will also be commercial spaces available on the ground floor.
Global design firm BDP has been appointed as architect and lead consultant for the scheme. The firm has significant experience in the regen and housing sectors.
Adam Darby, associate architect at BDP in the South West, 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 plenty of green open space, new tree planting, and engaging and secure children’s play areas integrated with the surrounding landscape.”
A pre-application has been submitted to Plymouth City Council this week, and PCH expects to submit a full planning application by the end of the year. PCH is in the process of purchasing the site from the city council.
Councillor Mark Shayer, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Economy, said: “A huge amount of work has been going on behind the scenes to get to this stage but this is incredibly encouraging news and one which I think many, many families in Plymouth will be delighted to learn about.
“This site has been earmarked for regeneration as part of the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan and part of this regeneration 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. We are also supporting this through our Plan for Homes, so I am really excited to see these plans progress so far.
“While there is still quite a way to go, the prospect of so many new homes, including plenty of affordable options in such a key location, is extremely welcome.”
As a leading non-profit social housing provider managing more than 16,000 homes, PCH offers homes for both affordable and social rent as well as shared ownership, in Plymouth and across the surrounding travel to work area
Shared ownership is a Government-backed scheme making it easier for eligible buyers to get onto the property ladder. Purchasers buy a share of the home and pay rent on the remainder.
Rent to Buy is a Government scheme allowing households to rent a home at 20% below open market rent price, and ease the transition towards buying the property for eligible purchasers.