‘The Plymouth Blitz’, seven German air raids over two months in 1941, left Plymouth the most heavily damaged city in the country, destroying its medieval centre. Following the devastation, and whilst the outcome of the war was still uncertain, Plymouth City Council commissioned Sir Patrick Abercrombie a leading town planner and architect of the day to prepare a redevelopment plan.
‘A Plan for Plymouth’ was published in 1943. Its recommendations were bold and optimistic but also controversial. The Plan has recently been described by high profile urban designers as both ‘A masterpiece of modern English town planning’ and ‘The culprit that eroded the key essence of urbanism’.
In 2014 NEW masterplanning was brought in by Plymouth City Council and GVA to assist with the long term regeneration of the city centre. Our first task was to identify the essential characteristics of the original 1943 Plan and to advise on how its historic integrity could be protected whilst delivering new development to provide the vibrancy and urbanism that the city centre needs.
Priorities included bringing a mix of uses back into the city centre precinct, reducing block sizes and improving permeability, improving the sense of enclosure and the pedestrian environment on Armada Way, and reducing the barrier effect on the Ring Road.
Stage 1 of our interim report has informed consultation by the City Council on a future growth strategy for the city centre and the delivery of a range of suitable development opportunities.