Plymouth City Council has been successful in securing nearly £20 million to transform Plymouth’s infrastructure and economy as part of the overall Plymouth and South Devon Freeport initiative.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Levelling Up Fund, a cornerstone of the UK government’s ambitious agenda, aims to bridge the economic and social disparities between regions across the country. The city and our successful bid will unlock a wealth of opportunities, encompassing projects that will include enhancing the Freeport’s innovation offer and supporting technological advances in the marine and defence arena. Together with port infrastructure and transforming the waterfront, this investment will create new jobs, boost economic activity and elevate the global standing of the city and the region as a centre for marine and maritime innovation.

It’s another example of how the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport is helping partners attract new investment to the area, helping to build a thriving economy and a community that embraces innovation and opportunity.

Congratulations to Plymouth City Council on securing the successful bid.

Full press release as issued by Plymouth City Council on 20 November 2023:

Plymouth’s waterfront and port look set to benefit from almost £20 million as part of the Government’s Levelling Up fund.

The Council has today learnt that its ambition to regenerate the city by accelerating the Freeport, National Marine Park and Net Zero vision have all moved a step further forward through this award of funding to the tune of £19,946, 417.

Council Leader Tudor Evans: “Absolutely brilliant news. That’s nearly £20 million worth of investment into Plymouth.

“We keep pressing the case for investment in projects that we believe have the potential to make a huge difference to our economy and to the people who live here – and it’s paying off.

“We have an extraordinary waterfront. We have some exciting ideas to help people in Plymouth prosper and want to create opportunities for young people to learn skills that will see them with great jobs in the blue economy. The projects we have put forward will help make this happen.”

The funding has been allocated on the basis of three key projects which were put forward to drive change by making the most of the opportunities made available through the area’s Freeport status as well as help create a city where everyone can reach their potential.

The projects intend to deliver innovation, infrastructure and skills across the city through:

• Marine innovation – through the delivery of innovation barns which allow practical innovation space for marine businesses helping research and development of products. Earmarked for Oceansgate, already a hotbed of innovation in the recently-designated Freeport tax site at South Yard, this will leverage opportunities to grow the sector by providing a focal point for technological advances in the marine and defence arena.

• Modernisation of port infrastructure at Millbay – upgrading port infrastructure to increase freight through the ferryport. This includes a move towards shore power, reducing the reliance on fossil fuels for shipping. Some key improvements are already in the pipeline, this will further encourage and support sustainable business growth, high value jobs and international trade.

• Transformed waterfront – repurposing derelict buildings to engage, inspire and train our future workforce. Raising aspirations to enable access for all to high value jobs and providing an attractive place to invest, work and play. The Council will be working with colleagues from the National Marine Park on raising the aspirations of young people to enter into marine employment.

The schemes will have to be delivered by 2026.