Is gritty Ply­mouth finally on the up?

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

Let’s be hon­est: un­til now, Ply­mouth has been a Cin­derella lo­ca­tion. The Devon town has not been as eco­nom­i­cally suc­cess­ful as its ri­val Ex­eter (40 miles east and with bet­ter trans­port links to Lon­don), and it is less al­lur­ing for vis­i­tors than the South Hams ( just up the A38 and in­clud­ing pic­ture-post­card spots like Sal­combe and Dart­mouth).

Yet Ply­mouth ap­pears to be off to the ball at last, and with a con­fi­dent swag­ger.

With some 30,000 stu­dents, it has one of the UK’s largest uni­ver­si­ties, work is un­der way on The Box, a £37mil­lion gallery, and the city is pre­par­ing for Mayflower 2020, a year of events mark­ing the 400th an­niver­sary of the pil­grims go­ing to the New World.

The hous­ing mar­ket is im­prov­ing too: prices rose 3.6 per cent in the past year and have gone up by more than a quar­ter since 2013, ac­cord­ing to prop­erty por­tal Zoopla. How­ever, many ar­eas of the city are still sur­pris­ingly low-cost com­pared to much of the West Coun­try; the av­er­age prop­erty price is £198,215.

As with most other cities, Ply­mouth is suf­fer­ing from a short­age of new homes: the lo­cal coun­cil wants 5,000 built be­tween 2016 and 2021, yet in the first two years only 686 were de­liv­ered. This has been eas­ily out­stripped by the num­ber of new stu­dent rooms built.

Even so, the new prop­er­ties in the pipe­line are strik­ing. Lee­ward House, a block of 59 con­tem­po­rary apart­ments over­look­ing the river Tamar and Ply­mouth Sound, is part of Mount Wise Vil­lage, a scheme that has trans­formed a largely-derelict Min­istry of De­fence es­tate into a com­mu­nity of 500 homes.

“This has got the best view bar none of any de­vel­op­ment in Ply­mouth right now,” says An­drew Seether, a buy­ing agent oper­at­ing in south Devon. “You can see the river, the docks and ma­rina, beau­ti­ful Mount Edg­combe Coun­try Park.”

On the edge of Ply­mouth’s fa­mous Hoe, work is set to start shortly on 1620 The Res­i­dences, two blocks hosting a ho­tel and 88 apart­ments close to many of the city’s best fa­cil­i­ties, such as a restaurant quar­ter at Royal William Yard, the The­atre Royal, and sail­ing at Sut­ton Har­bour.

Work is also un­der way on a £40mil­lion re­gen­er­a­tion scheme link­ing the city cen­tre with Mill­bay docks, which un­til the early 2000s was best known as a red­light district. A few hun­dred yards away sits Beck­ley Point, a just-opened 23-floor stu­dent tower that dom­i­nates the Ply­mouth sky­line and is the tallest res­i­den­tial build­ing south-west of Bris­tol.

With all this go­ing on it’s not sur­pris­ing that es­tate agents are ex­cited. “Ply­mouth has been slow to get new homes built, but in the next two years the place will be trans­formed,” claims An­drew Bul­li­vant, who has been sell­ing prop­erty in the city for two decades and now works at es­tate agency Atwell Martin. He’s mar­ket­ing new homes in the exclusive and el­e­vated Hart­ley sub­urb, with views to­wards Ply­mouth Sound, as well as a range of prop­er­ties at Mount Wise Vil­lage.

Longer-term, he says the city cen­tre’s long shop­ping pa­rades, built in the Fifties and Six­ties, are likely to be turned into pri­vate apart­ments, too: built in a post-war rush, the blocks lin­ing these long boule­vards now have more shops than re­quired.

A new coun­cil plan, shortly to be adopted, will trig­ger ma­jor change, Bul­li­vant pre­dicts. There will be prop­er­ties with a “su­perb lo­ca­tion, great views over the cen­tre and to­wards the Hoe, all at live­able heights of three and four storeys,” he says.

Right now, how­ever, family houses are be­ing built at Sher­ford, a new town on Ply­mouth’s east­ern fringe. So far, 120 have been com­pleted in a com­mu­nity that, on pa­per, should look like a ver­sion of Pound­bury for south Devon; the town will even­tu­ally have 12,000 res­i­dents, four schools and ameni­ties in­clud­ing a 500-acre park.

Eliana Grif­fiths, a part-time nurse, was the first per­son to move into Sher­ford, hav­ing bought a three-bed­room home from Lin­den Homes, one of the de­vel­op­ers cre­at­ing the new town. “Al­though it’s a new de­vel­op­ment, there’s a real sense of heritage about the de­sign,” she says. “I fell in love with its style.”

This city isn’t all about new homes, of course: there are plenty of Vic­to­rian ter­races and Ge­or­gian cres­cents, a few 15th and 16th cen­tury homes near the Bar­bican fish­ing port, plus a cen­tral swathe of bru­tal­ist ar­chi­tec­ture and many es­tates built in the Fifties and Six­ties.

Ply­mouth is noth­ing if not a mix, which gives the city such char­ac­ter. So what if it’s not the pret­ti­est part of the South West? It has some of the coun­try’s finest water­side liv­ing, more af­ford­able prop­erty, and a bevy of new homes en­joy­ing the best views.

Mount Wise Vil­lage, on the mar­ket with Atwell Martin

1620 The Res­i­dences, above; Eliana Grif­fiths, top

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.