New Development on Union Street


If funding for a multi-million pound investment is secured next Summer, work to erect a new business centre on Union Street with public access to 'active' ground floor services and amenities will start late 2012 (download brochure here).  Creating a lasting asset, the local regeneration project is set to enhance the look and feel of the area, boost existing business and ensure new start up's thrive.  Raising the reputation of Stonehouse in the City, it will create a new link between North and South Stonehouse, providing pedestrian access to and from Millbay and Plymouth’s waterfront .  The proposed development, in line with approved planning policy and the Stonehouse and Millbay area action plan, is testament to the Millfields Trust’s passion and determination to revitalise the local area to the benefit of local business, residents and the wider community.

HQ New Development questions and answers
Who are the Millfields Trust?
The Millfields Trust  is a partnership of the local community, business and the City Council working together to improve the Stonehouse area of Plymouth.   We are a trading social enterprise, generating profits to re-invest in the community. Our main activities are running 100 business units mostly for small and medium sized businesses, and running the Widening Horizons project with our six local primary schools. The Trust is a democratic organisation with membership open to anyone over 18 living or running a business in the Stonehouse neighbourhood.
Who owns the land?
The land on which building C will be erected is owned by the Millfields Trust. It was transferred to the Trust in 2007 as part of the freehold of the HQ building.
What is the HQ project?
The Trust is putting together a long term plan to develop the HQ site, to improve not only the look and feel of the area but to provide a range of new services to the wider community. We feel through the construction of a number of new buildings we will not only enhance the look and feel of the area but the reputation of Stonehouse in the City.
What will it mean for Union Street?
This new development will front onto Union Street and will be four stories high. At this point it will make the street look and feel different. We hope the ground floor will be “active” possibly with businesses with their entrance on the street which will be open to the public. In time we hope our development will act as a catalyst for the improvement of Union Street with other developments built on the streetline to give a coherence to the architecture and a life and vitality to the area. One other additional benefit is the links that will be created between north and south Stonehouse, with pedestrian access created through the sites to Millbay and the waterfront.
What will it mean for our local community?
Quite simply when completed the community through the Trust will own another significant freehold asset. The Trust is planning to use the asset to provide new business accommodation for SME’s many of whom will be residents of Stonehouse. The Trust is aiming to make a surplus from the running of the business centre with profits used to support other community activities.
What will it mean for the local economy?
The development will create new jobs for Stonehouse, and will provide a home to new businesses, who in turn will trade with existing businesses, be they shops, café’s, web designers etc bringing new life to the economy.
How will it affect me as a resident of Union Street?
The most obvious changes will be the loss of a patch of grass the line and height of the buildings. It will also mean a loss of some on street parking and obviously during construction there will be an increase in activity in the area.
How will it affect me as a tenant of HQ?
The new development will necessitate the reconfiguration of the car park and the closure of the access road. We recognise that this will affect tenants and visitors as there will be a new access into the car park and visitor spaces. During the construction phase there is the possibility that some car parking areas will be closed off on a temporary basis. We shall be working with you to ensure we manage the construction phase to minimise disruption and will be actively looking as solutions to maintain the levels and quality of parking currently enjoyed by tenants.
We hope that there will be other positive benefits with the opportunity for tenants to trade with new tenants and where appropriate take space in the new building.
As a current tenant will my rents increase?
There will be no increase beyond the normal inflationary uplift.
What will happen regarding parking?
There will be a loss of some visitor parking and tenant car parking, and when the building is complete more competition for existing space. The Trust is aware of this issue and will be doing its best to minimise disruption and is actively looking at alternative parking solutions. We will have to look at a new car parking strategy in order to maximise the use of existing spaces.
How much is it costing and who will pay?
The building with cost approximately £3.2 million to construct. The Millfields Trust will be applying to the ERDF Strategic Investment Framework for a grant to support part of the capital costs. “Gap” funding will be found from a commercial loan and the Trusts own reserves.
Who will be managing the development and how will it be run?
The Millfields Trust will be responsible for the overall development, and will be appointing professional advisers to manage the construction phase. Prior to that there is much to prepare and the Trust has engaged FORM Design to assist with the design and planning and Cyril Sweett to project manage the initial phase.
How can individuals and community groups get involved?
Come to one of our consultation events and tell us what you think, alternatively come into HQ and speak to the General Manager of members of the Trust staff.  Sign up to be a member of the Trust and you will be informed of progress and further developments.
What type of units are being built?
The aim is to provide around 20,000 square feet of new business accommodation which will be particularly suitable for those people starting out in businesses. We aim also to provide some support services to those in this position with the aim of giving them the best possible chance to make a success of their venture.
How can I register for commercial space/office accommodation?
Whilst it is not currently possible for anyone to register for a unit, we will shortly have more detailed plans that will show specific units and their specification. Anyone interested in registering for a businesses at that time should contact Mandy Toze our Business Development Manager who will be happy to assist.
Where can I see a plan of the development?
Plans will be available to view at the Civic Centre in Plymouth and in the HQ building in Union Street. In addition the Trust will be holding a series of consultation events across Stonehouse where plans will be available for viewing.
Will this be an environmentally friendly build?
The building will have to achieve BREEAM excellent standards. This means it will not only be a sustainable building, energy efficient using the latest technology to support low utility use and the generation of power. In addition the building will be fully DDA compliant and will provide facilities to support those who cycle to work.
When is it likely to happen?
We hope to have our plans and funding in place by July next year and are planning to start on site late in 2012.
Are the units just for the residents of Stonehouse?
No they will be available to people outside of the area. However we will be taking steps to encourage the residents of Stonehouse to make use of the facilities and will be putting into place a package of support to enable this to happen.
Who do I contact if I want to know more?
Please contact Roger Pipe, General Manager.