Work starts to bring new look to New George Street

Work is starting this week to refresh and revive Old Town Street and New George Street as part of a multi-million pound investment by the Council into a key part of the city centre.

  • The dated eighties landscaping is going and in its place will be features designed to make it look a lot brighter and nicer. They include
  • Better links between Drake Circus and The Barcode
  • Islands of greenery
  • New play area with stepping-stones through the gardens, bringing a touch of the moors into the city centre
  • Places to sit and rest
  • A small performance area
  • New tree planting carefully arranged to allow clear sightlines to shopfronts
  • Ornamental ‘rain garden’ planting with more sustainable urban drainage

The taxi rank at the top of town has already been relocated to a new area directly outside the entrance of Drake Circus on Eastlake Street. Another rank has also been created at St Andrew’s Cross.

Phase one will begin to lower New George Street, from Armada Way to the House of Fraser service yard next month (November) then phase 2 Upper New George Street and Old Town Street to St. Andrews Cross will get underway in January 2022.

The Council has appointed Mildren Construction to carry out the work and next week fencing and hoarding will be put up around a site between the Sundial and the end of the House of Fraser building, enabling contractors to get cracking on with preliminary works which entails digging down into the main sewage system.

After talking to shop owners and traders, the bulk of the scheme will not get underway until after the crucial Christmas shopping period.

The project team have drawn up a timetable of work which aims to minimise the impact of the work as far as possible. Existing service yards will be accessible in the run up to Christmas for deliveries

Council Leader Nick Kelly said: “We wanted to avoid the Christmas rush as much as possible, so have listened to our traders. No one wants interruption but we hope this scheme will make this important part of our retail heart a lot brighter and more attractive.

“It will not only look better, but it will be greener – not just with more trees. The scheme includes a sustainable drainage system which means rainwater will not just end up in the sewers but will be diverted to water plants. It’s another measure to help tackle climate change.”

City Centre Manager Steve Hughes said: “It’s great to see so much investment in our city centre. This area was looking tired and needed to change. I am pleased that the project team have been listening to the businesses and I’m sure they will continue to do this throughout the course of the work.”

The work has been funded through the Transforming Cities Fund to the tune of £6,529,468.50 as the scheme also has wide clear routes, better visibility and improved signage for cyclists. The Heart of the South West LEP also contributed £700,000.

Karl Tucker, chair of Heart of the SW LEP, said: “Investing in our local high streets and town and city centres is vital to ensure they remain attractive and accessible for residents, businesses and visitors.

“The work being undertaken by the council around Old Town Street and New George Street will not only significantly enhance the experience for anyone visiting, but it will also introduce measures that improve the local area’s sustainability. We are delighted to have been able to support this work with £700k funding from the Heart of the SW LEP’s Growth Deal.”