Home General Interest Rail Minister visits Plymouth to discuss Brunel Plaza regeneration

Rail Minister visits Plymouth to discuss Brunel Plaza regeneration

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris has visited Plymouth to meet those responsible for the regeneration of Brunel Plaza, a scheme that involves an upgrade for Plymouth Railway Station along with a major revamp of the surrounding area.

This includes the redevelopment of Intercity House by the University of Plymouth to train the city’s future health professionals, a new hotel and multi-storey car park, and improvements to public areas and links to the city centre.

L to R: Network Rail’s Francis McGarry; University of Plymouth’s Tim Brooksbank; Cllr Tudor Evans; Chris Heaton-Harris, the Minister of State for Transport; GWR’s Richard Roland and Plymouth City Council Chief Executive Tracey Lee during a visit to Plymouth Station to have a look at the Brunel Plaza regeneration project.

Standing outside Plymouth station, the Rail Minister said: ““Our stations serve as gateways to our towns and cities, ensuring communities are connected, enabling access to education and employment and facilitating tourism.

“The Brunel Plaza Scheme will mark an exciting new chapter for Plymouth and I was delighted to visit the station to see first-hand how it will help transform the area into a vibrant catalyst for regeneration.

“This government will continue to invest in vital projects such as this to ensure we boost regional economies and build back better from Covid-19.”

The project involves:

  • Refurbishment of Plymouth Station concourse, doubling the capacity of the existing gate-line with better shops and facilities for passengers.
  • Refurbishment and change of use of Intercity Place for use by the University of Plymouth
  • Re-location of facilities within the RISC building to a new building the west of the station
  • Demolition of the RISC building
  • Construction of a new multi-storey car park on the site of the former RISC building
  • New-build accommodation for the University of Plymouth
  • Demolition of the existing multi-storey car park
  • Construction of a new hotel on the site of the demolished multi-storey car park
  • Improved and re-configured pedestrian, cycle and vehicular access to the station and city centre

Permission was granted in September for the Intercity Place project, which will involve the complete regeneration of an 11-storey building overlooking Plymouth Railway station. It will be reconfigured and refurbished throughout – with the exterior also being rejuvenated – so that the finished development creates a striking and welcoming entrance to Britain’s Ocean City.

The University has now signed a long-term lease on the building from Network Rail, and work will begin imminently to give it a new lease of life. Once completed, it will house inter-professional clinical skills facilities for the University’s Faculty of Health and be used to train future nurses, midwives, paramedics, physiotherapists, and other allied health professionals.

There will also be additional educational services, enabling staff to work together in one location to support the future health workforce.

The existing car park opposite the entrance is also earmarked for demolition and a new hotel and second university building created in its place. The masterplan proposes a new car park, almost doubling the capacity to 469 spaces, for the site of the RISC building. Station staff accommodation will be modernised and significant new public space created including a direct pedestrian link to North Cross and the city centre.

GWR deputy managing director Richard Rowland said: “It is easy to see why the station is regarded as the gateway to the South West. 

“Over the last two years we at GWR we have delivered new Intercity Express Trains, and more frequent and faster journeys to and from the city, and I am delighted that this major upgrade work can begin creating the entrance the city deserves.

The entire scheme is expected to cost in the region of £80m and has the backing of Plymouth City Council; the University of Plymouth; Cornwall and Heart of South West LEPs; the DfT; GWR and Network Rail.

Nigel Wordsworth BSc(Hons) MCIJhttp://therailengineer.com

SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, mechanical equipment, project reports, executive interviews


Nigel Wordsworth graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, after which he joined the American aerospace and industrial fastener group SPS Technologies. After a short time at the research laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA, Nigel became responsible for applications engineering to industry in the UK and Western Europe. At this time he advised on various engineering projects, from Formula 1 to machine tools, including a particularly problematic area of bogie design for the HST.

A move to the power generation and offshore oil supply sector followed as Nigel became director of Entwistle-Sandiacre, a subsidiary of the Australian-owned group Aurora plc. At the same time, Nigel spent ten years as a Technical Commissioner with the RAC Motor Sports Association, responsible for drafting and enforcing technical regulations for national and international motor racing series.

Joining Rail Engineer in 2008, Nigel’s first assignment was a report on new three-dimensional mobile mapping and surveying equipment, swiftly followed by a look at vegetation control machinery. He continues to write on a variety of topics for most issues.

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