Statement: December 8, 2014

Plymouth Argyle Responds to British Land’s Bretonside Plans

THE Board of Plymouth Argyle Football Club issued the following statement on Monday, December 8:

The Board of Plymouth Argyle Football Club (‘PAFC’ or ‘the Club’) has reviewed British Land Company PLC’s plans to redevelop the area currently occupied by Bretonside bus station. 

A PAFC cinema-anchored leisure scheme at Higher Home Park (‘HHP’) has already been approved by Plymouth City Council (‘PCC’); however, this could not progress if the Bretonside scheme is approved. 

PAFC’s Board believes that the approval of the Bretonside plans would be materially damaging to both the Club and the City:

The Club
  • The new grandstand at Home Park is critical to the success and sustainability of the Club. It provides:
    • a replacement for the current grandstand, which is no longer fit for purpose; and
    • a source of new matchday and non-matchday income which will enable PAFC to further invest in the Club and the team, for the benefit of the City.
  • There is no credible alternative to deliver the grandstand. PAFC has been working with a city institution to find an alternative funding solution not requiring the immediate development of Higher Home Park. Although talks continue, they have not been successful to date and there is no assurance that they will be successful in the future.
  • With the new grandstand, the prospects of sustainable Championship football are real; without it, those prospects are a pipe dream. Plymouth remains the largest city in England whose team has not played in the top division.
  • 100% of the profit from the development of the multiplex cinema at HHP will be invested in the grandstand – a community asset complementing the Life Centre to create one of the finest leisure destinations in the UK.  
The City
  • Plymouth’s retail offering and much public investment (e.g. the new history centre) has been focused on the east end of the City: the concentration of leisure there also would unnecessarily remove a regeneration-enabler for another part of the City.
  • The east end is already well served by the Vue Cinema, a quarter of a mile from Bretonside; the west of the city has no multiplex cinema.
  • The restaurants and bars in the Barbican – mainly small businesses which have already been badly impacted by the recession – would be further damaged by the food and beverage offering at Bretonside; HHP has no such adverse impact.
  • It is widely recognised that Plymouth needs high-quality conference facilities to bring in business visitors for the benefit of the whole City. HHP provides this; Bretonside does not.
  • A new grandstand at PAFC, combined with a new leisure complex, would complement the £50m Life Centre and provide a leisure destination the envy of many cities. The stadium will be used for other events in the City and, in due course, may host other professional clubs.  
  • The Bretonside scheme is damaging to the west end of the City generally and, in particular, the £350m regeneration of Millbay. It may adversely impact on future inward investment into the City. 
  • The new bus facilities proposed are a fraction of those currently available at Bretonside. 
  • Vibrant cities benefit from vibrant sporting clubs. The development of Bretonside as a leisure scheme would have a materially adverse impact on Plymouth’s largest club, Plymouth Argyle. 
  • A leisure scheme at HHP – smaller than that which has already received planning permission but generating sufficient monies to fund the new grandstand – has received assurances of funding from one of the largest institutions in the UK. 
The City has the choice of two potential new leisure schemes: one in the retail district next to Drake’s Circus and one (already consented) in the leisure district of Home Park. Only one can proceed, however – there is no prospect of both happening in the short-to-medium term.