As part of the overall Plymouth and South Devon Freeport initiative £19.9 million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund will be used to support skills provision in Plymouth, regeneration of the city’s waterfront and port infrastructure at Millbay, and construction of a dedicated space to support companies in innovation within the Freeport’s South Yard site.

Plymouth City Council press release (12/03/24):

Exciting projects that will power Plymouth’s waterfront regeneration will be able to go ahead, thanks to almost £20 million funding.

A decision has been signed to formally accept up to £19,946,417 for the project ‘Plymouth and South Devon Freeport (Freeport) – Accelerating Plymouth’s Waterfront Regeneration. The funding comes from the Department of Levelling Up, Homes and Community’s third round of the Levelling Up Fund.

Council leader Tudor Evans said: “We are saying yes to this funding offer, we are saying yes to opportunity, to Plymouth realising its full potential as a major port city and we are saying yes to projects that will help our communities get the skills they need.”

The grant will unlock essential capital works to key assets, which will benefit the city’s residents as well as establish Plymouth as a Net Zero port city with a superb waterfront.

Three sites will receive investment and are all central to the delivery of the Freeport. Each will deliver innovation, infrastructure and skills, many in our most deprived neighbourhoods:

• Freeport Innovation Centre – £2 million for a new building in Oceansgate, Oceansgate 3.1 will see ‘innovation barns’ built within the Freeport South Yard tax site. This is a high growth high value cluster at South Yard with ongoing investment and support by Princess Yachts, Babcock International and the Ministry of Defence. This will create opportunities to grow the sector by providing essential warehouse space for business in the Freeport.

• Modernisation of port infrastructure at Millbay – £5.5 million working with Associated British Ports, this funding will improve freight turnaround and meet the Freeport’s export and Net Zero ambitions. Improvements are expected to increase the port’s capacity, enabling it to thrive, create new jobs and secure new export opportunities. This will mainly be achieved through better traffic management (more efficient disembarking and reduced processing times for freight), more check-in booths, and better passenger access. Additional investment has also been secured with ABP committing to shore power to move the port towards Net Zero.

• Freeport skills and regeneration of our waterfront – £12.446 million will fund the regeneration of waterfront assets and the refurbishment of the Civic Centre (subject to Cabinet decision on 11 March).

These investments will generate over £28.6 million of match funding, support new skills and career paths and create over 3,500 jobs.

The Freeport aims to create a cluster of high value, high growth businesses and realise our inward investment strategy, which was recently commended by the Department for International Trade. The projects are working to a tight timetable with all funding to be spent by March 2026.