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Environmental improvements carried out in Plymouth city centre as part of the Business Improvement District program...
Environmental improvements carried out in Plymouth city centre as part of the Business Improvement District programme have been seen first hand by ODPM minister Jim Fitzpatrick.

The Plymouth BID is one of 20 pilot schemes across the country and includes 500 retailers in the city centre. It will receive£2.1m of investment in the next five years to address Plymouth's unrealised retail potential - attracting back shoppers who have deserted Plymouth for competing centres.

Plymouth BID's achievements to date include:

* Creation of a one hour rapid response clean team

* The introduction of city centre wardens scheme

* A graffiti removal service

* Four major regional events including a big screen for Wimbledon fortnight and 'Flavour Fest' the South West's largest food and drink festival

* Decorative lighting

* Mobile CCTV cameras

* Regional marketing

Mr Fitzpatrick said:

'It is encouraging to see such significant levels of private and public investment in Plymouth which is starting to make a real difference to the city's fortunes and improving the quality of life for its residents.'

Plymouth city centre business manager, David Draffan, said:

'The BID has already made significant impacts in challenging perceptions of the city centre improving cleanliness and increasing the number of people visiting the shopping area.'

During his visit to the city, Mr Fitzpatrick also visited the Tamar Science Park, which is being expanded with a£5.5m European Objective 2 grant and support from the South West of England Regional Development Agency.

He also visited the site of Plymouth University's new£34m flagship arts building, currently under construction at the city centre campus and areas of planned developments at the Royal William Yard, the Millbay area of Plymouth and the Devonport Stores Enclave.

The minister added:

'A broad range of government initiatives and investment, including the Plymouth BID pilot, expansion of the successful Tamar Science Park and development of the Royal William Yard with financial backing from the South West RDA are building firm foundations for the city's economic future.

'The plans to redevelop Millbay with the backing of English Partnerships, the English Cities Fund, the RDA and Plymouth City Council and the homes, shops and offices planned for the Devonport Enclave through the Government's New Deal for Communities are exciting developments.'

Colin Molton, director of operations and development at the South West of England Regional Development Agency, said:

'What the minister has seen today is evidence of the real progress achieved through taking a joined-up approach to regeneration, with the South West RDA working closely with its partners to co-ordinate a range of major projects across the city.

'The Tamar Science Park and the University's new Arts Building are examples of strategic RDA investment in the city's growing economy. At the same time, Royal William Yard, Millbay and Devonport demonstrate the importance of the public and private sector working closely with residents and local business to create vibrant and sustainable communities.'


1. BIDs are partnerships between local authorities and local business for additional services or improvements, funded by a levy raised on the business rate. Businesses decide in advance how much will be raised and what it will be spend on. They vote in a ballot on a proposal including the amount to be raised, how it would be used and the arrangements for spending it.

The government is already supporting 22 BID Pilot schemes as part of the National BID Pilots Project being run by the Association of Town Centre Manager (ATCM). The 22 Pilots are of different sizes and are being guided through the process of setting up a BID, gaining practical knowledge and establishing the mechanisms needed to help BID schemes become successful.

2. The Royal William Yard was built in the 1830s as a naval victualling yard. The eight hectare site contains ten buildings, nine of which are schduled ancient monuments. Substantial funding by the South West RDA over the years has improved the infrastructure and allowed a series of private sector residential developments to go ahead.

3. The Millbay Action Plan contains proposals for the regeneration of the area following extensive consultations with the local community and other stakeholders. A partnership board (the Millbay Management Board) has been set-up to carry out the action plan and includes English Partnerships, the English Cities Fund, Plymouth City Council and the South West RDA. Planning consent has been granted for the first phase of development, including 259 new homes (25% of them affordable) and 3,000 sq metres of business space.

4. Devonport Dockyard Stores Enclave is a 15 acre site which was acquired by English Partnerships from the Ministry of Defence last year. The development will reunite two parts of Devonport which were split when the site was acquired by the Navy after the Second World War. A framework for mixed-use development has been agreed by partners through the Government's New Deal for Communities programme. Proposals include 400 new homes, a supermarket, shops, workshops and offices.

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