January 11, 2015
by Scott Grenney

Now complete – Waterfront cycling improvements

bikesFamilies can now enjoy some of the best views in the city from their saddles, thanks to improvements along Plymouth’s spectacular waterfront cycle route.

The route is part of National Cycle Network Route 27 and connects the Barbican, the Hoe, Millbay and Royal William Yard.

A new contraflow cycle lane now runs eastwards along Madeira Road, from the mini roundabout junction with Hoe Road and past the Citadel to the Elphinstone car park.

Motorists should be aware that cyclists are now allowed to travel in both directions along this stretch of road and that a new 20mph speed limit is also in place.

Improvements have also been made to help cyclists and pedestrians cross Millbay Road and travel through Millbay roundabout more easily and safely. Work has included narrowing the space around the roundabout to slow down traffic and creating a cycle route that avoids the roundabout altogether.

Both schemes – designed and built by the Council’s highways contractor Amey – make it easier and safer to explore the city’s magnificent waterfront and historic features by bike, which will in turn provide an economic boost to waterfront businesses.

The improvements have been funded through the Coastal Communities Fund, along with the new bike hire hubs at the Royal William Yard and Commercial Wharf, which Rockets and Rascals have been running since last Easter.

Councillor Mark Coker, Cabinet Member for Transport said: “Our waterfront is one of the best features of Britain’s Ocean City and these improvements make it easier for cyclists of all ages and abilities to enjoy the amazing views. This isn’t just about providing a great experience for tourists; it’s also about encouraging people here in Plymouth to get on their bikes, explore their surroundings and stay healthy and active.”

Sarah O’Leary, Waterfront Manager for the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership added: “The waterfront is one of our greatest assets and activities that encourage more people to visit are warmly welcomed. The link between the Royal William Yard and the Barbican is critical in directly benefitting businesses right across the area.”

Source: Plymouth City Council


January 11, 2015
by Scott Grenney

Thank you to the volunteers of the Barbican / Hoe Waterfront Media Team

Over a three year period a volunteer media team, coordinated by Scott Grenney saw a band of talented photographers, writers and social media reporters brought together to help cover various events across the Barbican & the Plymouth Hoe. The team also took part in a number of community related projects to help showcase the Barbican and Plymouth Hoe areas.

The team disbanded on January 5th 2016.

Scott Grenney, volunteer team coordinator had this to say: Volunteering for the Barbican & Hoe Waterfront Volunteer Media team allowed team members to showcase the Barbican/Hoe and their own work, helping to build their portfolios, share skills and learn new techniques. This also led to a number of opportunities for each member as a result along with some great exposure with some having work printed in magazines, gaining press coverage via news paper, radio and even on the BBC, being hired by businesses and agencies to take photos and so on.

It’s been a great journey and I’m proud with what the team and individuals have gone on to accomplish.

Everyone dedicated a lot of free time as volunteers and you’ll be hard pressed to find another talented and skilled group of individuals.

This leaves me to finally say a big thank you to all the volunteers. It’s been an honour working with them all as members of the team.

The long running Barbican and Hoe waterfront websites and Social media will remain unchanged and continue to offer local and community based news to help showcase the areas to tourists and locals alike.

December 15, 2014
by Scott Grenney

Plymouth Hoe’s line lookout – new lease of life

Plymouth Hoe Line Lookout New BusinessA watch tower overlooking Plymouth Sound is getting a new lease of life, thanks to an exciting, award-winning scheme to entice entrepreneurs with cracking ideas.

The ‘Liner Lookout’ stands on Plymouth’s world-famous Hoe and is one of a number of sites in the city centre and on Plymouth’s stunning waterfront being marketed for use under the Plymouth Your Space project.

Plymouth businessman Dave Morrish has worked with the Plymouth Your Space team to agree a short-term lease on the lookout for the next five years for deck chair hire, free games as well as refreshments.

He said: “We wanted to turn this quirky building into somewhere for local people, dog walkers and tourists to get something to eat and enjoy the amazing views.

“There’s nothing better than sitting on the world famous Hoe in a deck chair and looking out to sea. We want to hire out deck chairs as well as giant grass games for children. Every step of the way has been met with enthusiasm and support from the Council.”

Plymouth Your Space opens up opportunities for people to use space in the city in different ways, while not having to commit to long term lease arrangements. Ideas could include pop-up shops, art exhibitions, temporary cinemas, outside dance events, floating restaurants and cafes. It could also include temporary salons or bike repairs – there are no limits to the ideas.

The Plymouth Your Space project was recognised as a national exemplar earlier this year when it won the Association of Town & Centre Management’s Diversifying the Business Mix award.

The Council worked with partners to focus in the Business Improvement District areas, working with Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, Plymouth City Centre Company, Plymouth University and City College Plymouth to identify 20 sites including:

  • the hard-standing terrace on the water’s edge at Pebblestone Beach
  • space beneath El café on the water’s edge beneath Hoe Road
  • the Lion’s Den – a former ‘gentlemen’s bathing area’ on the waterfront
  • the roof and sun terrace of Tinside Lido
  • empty city centre units, including along Cornwall Street

Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “I’m chuffed to bits to see this building come back to life. It’s a lovely building and its new use will help bring people up onto the Hoe.”’

Chris Arscott, Chair of Plymouth Waterfront Partnership said “It’s a simple concept but is important in terms of regeneration and job creation, key to opening up buildings long vacant, breathing new life into strategically important areas.”

A number of sites have successfully been brought back to life such as Rumpuscosy in an empty city centre shop on Derry’s Cross, and Flameworks ran in a city centre shop for the past two Christmas periods.

The Line Lookout is a small stone building which looks like a miniature castle turret and was built in the 1870s as a lookout for the big ships that called into the busy port of Plymouth. It has been boarded up for at least 20 years.

Source: Plymouth City Council


December 1, 2014
by Scott Grenney

MTV Crashes Plymouth for the next three years!

MTV Crashes Plymouth 2014Plymouth is to host MTV Crashes for the next three years for not one, but two nights of cracking entertainment for Plymouth people and global exposure for Britain’s Ocean City.

Plymouth’s Cabinet will be asked to give the thumbs up to a three year partnership with the global music channel to host a major music event across two nights on the magnificent Plymouth Hoe.

Deputy leader Councillor Peter Smith said: “We’re chuffed to bits that MTV want to come again and want to be in partnership with us over three years.

“Anyone who was on the Hoe this summer will know what an epic event it was. The crowds loved it, the bands loved it, MTV loved it and millions of people across the world got to see Plymouth at its best.

“This decision marks the start of a lot of hard work for our staff and partners to make this happen. It will be bigger, better – and with more beer tents!”

Last summer’s event led to Britain’s Ocean City being exposed to over 162 countries and the city benefitted from being associated with the world’s number 2 global media brand with a web reach of over 2.3 million per month, a Facebook following of over 44 million and a Twitter following of over 7.9 million.

Councillor Smith said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the Council to put Plymouth in pole position for staging major outdoor events in the South West, fulfilling one of the Council pledges.

As well as cracking entertainment for people of all ages, the report outlines the significant economic benefits of MTV Crashes. It has been conservatively estimated that the economic impact of the summer’s event was £1.26 million based on the audience alone.

Plymouth’s visitor economy is worth £307 million a year and currently provides about seven per cent of the city’s jobs. Under its Visitor Plan, the city intends to increase visits by 20 per cent up to 2020 and a key strand of the plan is a major events strategy to encourage day and repeat visitors.

The cost of the undertaking is commercially sensitive, but the Council has agreed to underwrite the event as it has major economic and reputational benefits for the city.

It is expected that the event will be cost neutral to the Council.

Ticket details and prices will be announced in the New Year.

The MTV ‘Crashes’ Plymouth event was headlined by Kaiser Chiefs and supported by Example, The 1975 and Kiesza. The concert generated over 25 hours of programming highlights shown across MTV UK Network between August and September 2014.

Following extensive national and local press coverage estimated at over half a million pounds the 20,000 tickets for the event priced at £5 with a £1.50 booking fee sold out in less than 20 minutes. Kaiser Chiefs and The 1975 both enjoyed number 1 albums in 2014 with 230k album sales between them and a total of 3.5m album sales career wise.

Before the event, MTV ran a Plymouth TV promo campaign for 5 weeks in the build up to the event, featuring a competition to win tickets this was seen by 4.4million viewers across the UK.

Source: Plymouth City Council

November 5, 2014
by Scott Grenney

Ocean City Lights Event during November 2014

Plymouth Hoe Bonfire Night

Smeaton’s Tower – Bonfire Night – Photo by Leigh Acton

This November needn’t be dark as Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City, is lighting up the city with a number of light-themed events.

The events, all designed to celebrate national occasions and commemorate significant moments in the city’s history, include Light 100, Bonfire Night, the City Centre and Barbican Christmas Lights Switch-on events, Illuminate and Light Fantastic.

From Saturday 1 November through to Saturday 29 November there are plenty of events to light up the autumn evenings.

Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Peter Smith, said: “Autumn is here but that doesn’t mean things are quietening down in Plymouth. There is still a great number of exciting events to attend and the Ocean City Lights programme provides a range to choose from. From those with historical associations through to community events and traditional bonfire and Christmas lights, there’s no reason to stay at home.”

In 1914 the three towns, Plymouth, Devonport and East Stonehouse, joined to form Plymouth as we know it today. 100 years later, Stonehouse Action is hosting a Light 100 community event to celebrate.

Saturday 1st November – Stonehouse Timebank, Union Street

This event will see Stonehouse Timebank light up Union Street with 100 lanterns, each containing a wish, on from 5pm.

Wednesday 5 November – The Hoe

Plymouth will be hosting a traditional bonfire and fireworks display on The Hoe. Visitors can enjoy fairground rides, food and drink from 4pm.Entertainment, courtesy of Heart FM, will take place from 6pm on the grass area of The Hoe in front of the Royal Citadel. Performances from Alice Sposito, Street Factory, Alice Gullick and The Sound will entertain the crowds whilst the bonfire is lit at 7.30pm.

A surrey-based firework company, Pyrovision, will set off a spectacular display from behind the walls of the Royal Citadel at 8pm. Visitors to The Hoe can watch as the skies are once again lit up with a dazzling array of sparkles.

The Sugar Thieves will take to the stage at 8.20pm for the final performance of the night.

Thursday 13th November – City Centre

The following week, will see the popular city centre Christmas light switch-on and dazzling lantern parade take place. Entertainment begins at 4pm on the stage outside Drake Circus shopping centre at the top of Cornwall Street.Join Chico and R&B band Damage as the countdown begins at 6.20pm, followed by the lantern parade starting at the Plymouth Guildhall at 6.40pm.

Thursday 20th November – Barbican & The Hoe

A unique community event will celebrate the ‘Special Relationship’ between Plymouth UK and Plymouth Massachusetts. The event, Illuminate, will kick off the countdown to 2020, the 400th anniversary of when the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymouth on the Mayflower, heading for the New World.At 6pm one single candle will be lit at the Mayflower Steps during a short civic service followed by an illuminated procession from the steps to The Hoe where a further 1,000 candles will be lit.

Thursday 27th November – Barbican

Keeping with the American theme a Thanksgiving ceremony will take place at the Mayflower Steps at 5.30pm followed by the Barbican and Sutton Harbour Christmas lights switch-on at 6pm.The Christmas lights switch-on will take place beside the ‘Mayflower’ Christmas tree on The Parade, Barbican and will provide an outdoor, traditional carol service.

Friday 28th November – Various Locations

The Ocean City Lights programme will conclude with a ‘Light Fantastic’ event which will see some of the city’s most iconic buildings come alive. On Friday 28 November, Smeaton’s Tower, Devonport Guildhall and the Palace Theatre will become illuminated with projections inspired by the ‘Three Towns’ histories and communities.

Saturday 29th November – Plymouth Guildhall & Civic Centre

Plymouth Guildhall and the Civic Centre will be illuminated with a combined finale projection.

More information about all of these events can be found at www.visitplymouth.co.uk

Source: Plymouth City Council

October 24, 2014
by Scott Grenney

Plymouth Citybus donates a thousand tickets for Illuminate event

Candle plymouth hoe eventsPlymouth residents and visitors are invited to light a candle at the Illuminate event taking place on The Hoe in November and local bus firm Plymouth Citybus has donated a thousand bus tickets to get these people there.

Thousands of people are expected to gather for a special ‘Illuminate’ event on 20 November to mark the start of the official countdown to the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing.

The event will start at 6pm with a small civic service at the Mayflower Steps with the Plymouth Lord Mayor, Councillor Michael Fox, and Dignitaries linked to the Mayflower Trail in the UK and US.

During the service one candle will be lit followed by a parade up to The Hoe where a further 1,000 candles will be lit to illustrate the quote by Governor William Bradford in his book Of Plimoth Plantation which states, “As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled has shown unto many,”. The aim of the event is to ‘share the light’ and inspire a sense of unity between the Plymouth, UK and Plymouth, Massachusetts – who will be holding a similar event the following day.

Residents and visitors are invited to The Hoe to ‘light’ their candles (electric or candle phone apps) and take part in a group formation, which from the air will create the number ‘400’.

Chairman of the Plymouth UK Mayflower Leadership Group, Adrian Vinken OBE, said “Illuminate is a very special event for Plymouth and one which I hope residents will be proud to participate in. We have received fantastic support from the City Council and local businesses which is extremely encouraging for the future of the whole Mayflower project.  This will be a seminal moment in the development of the international 2020 project.  Not only will it launch the official countdown to Mayflower 400 in both the UK and the USA but it will also provide the opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate Plymouth’s remarkable contribution to the history of the world over the past four centuries.”

To mark the occasion, and to show business and community support, Plymouth Citybus has sponsored the parade and also donated 1,000 bus travel tickets for people wanting to like a candle and get involved in the formation.

Bus tickets will be valid for one day only, and can only be used to travel to and from the event. They can be claimed by emailing visit-plymouth@plymouth.gov.uk and will be issued on a first come first served basis. Family tickets can be provided.

Plymouth Citybus isn’t the only local business supporting the event. The Race Equality Council is bringing their Step Up to Respect Parade which will be a main feature of the event and Jury’s Inn is offering 20% off the price of a limited number of their Plymouth rooms on the night for people attending the event. All you need to do is quote ‘Mayflower’ at the time of booking.

City College Plymouth are also supporting the event, Sharron Robbie, Director of Marketing, Corporate Relations and Enterprise at the college said: “City College Plymouth is delighted to be part of Illuminate, which marks the countdown to the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth. The Illuminate event will raise awareness and excitement around the historic event, and will enable community engagement from both sides of the Atlantic.

“It promises to be a very special event!”

Source: Plymouth City Council

Find out more about the Illuminate event: Illuminate – Lighting the way to 2020 – 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Ship


October 24, 2014
by Scott Grenney

Plymouth Tourism and Visitor Economy Conference – Thursday 20th November 2014

Plymouth Hoe Waterfront photo by Scott GrenneyExperts in the visitor economy will be joining forces to talk to businesses about how delivering excellence can reap positive benefits for everyone at the annual tourism and visitor economy conference taking place in Plymouth.

Being held at The Rhodes@ The Dome on Thursday 20th November, from 10am to 4pm Destination Plymouth has arranged twelve key speakers to provide motivational presentations throughout the day.

Ken Robinson CBE, Chairman of the Tourism Society Policy and Advocacy Group and Board member of the Tourism Alliance will be a keynote speaker on the day.

As the winner of an England for Excellence Award in 1998 for Lifetime Services to Tourism, Ken will discuss why it is important for local businesses to support each other, particularly in the current challenging economic climate, which is seeing many local authorities withdraw from funding tourism completely.

Ken will give an overview of how the visitor economy is changing structurally nationally, why it is crucial that businesses continue to work together in partnership and why ‘excellence is the key to success!’

Ken was awarded a CBE in 1997 for Services to Tourism and is a member of VisitEngland’s Strategic Industry Advisory Group and British Tourism Industry Group as well as a member of the World Travel Market Advisory Council.

He said: “I am very pleased to be talking at the Plymouth Tourism and Visitor Economy Conference in November and meeting other businesses in the industry to hear about their experiences. I am fortunate to have worked with many Government departments and devised tourism strategies in the UK and in my work for the UN’s International Trade Centre, advising nations and regions how to optimise the economic, social and cultural benefits of Tourism.

“Now more than ever before organisations such as Destination Plymouth are vital to provide a strong voice for local businesses, encourage partnership working and to lobby government for funding support for one of the UK’’s fastest growing sectors over the past three years.”

Other speakers at the conference include Pam Foden, the Head of Industry Development at VisitEngland, Carolyn Custerson, Chairman of Visit Devon, and Jonathan Sloane, Managing Director of Hills Balfour – the national PR company working with Destination Plymouth to raise the profile of ‘Britain’s Ocean City’.

Providing a slightly different perspective and their insight into ‘delivering excellence’ will be world class diving coach Andy Banks, the Director of Marketing, Corporate Relations and Enterprise at City College Plymouth, Sharron Robbie and Director of E-Strategy, Stuart Devlin.

Leader of the City Council and Destination Plymouth Director Tudor Evans said: “Plymouth City Council understands the importance of tourism and the visitor economy as a key sector and an area of the economy which will continue to grow and support new jobs. We will continue to support our local businesses by investing in tourism and supporting them as much as possible.

“This conference is a fantastic chance for businesses to network and be inspired. With a number of leading industry experts in the room it’s really one not to be missed.”

Chairman of Destination Plymouth, Duncan Currall, added: “We are delighted to announce that Ken Robinson CBE is joining us at our Tourism Conference. He has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the industry and this is an exciting opportunity for others in the sector to come and hear from him.

“As we move towards the end of 2014 and look forward to 2015 we need to think smarter, act quicker and collaboratively work together to ‘deliver excellence’ for Plymouth, as well as the whole of the South West region.

“Plymouth is fortunate to have fantastic support for tourism and the visitor economy from the City Council together with the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership and City Centre Company BIDS. We all need to continue to work together to ensure that this sector keeps growing as we move towards our Mayflower 400 commemorations in 2020.”

The conference is open to all businesses and students in tourism, leisure, retail, hospitality and wider visitor economy  and will run from 10.00am to 4pm. Tickets are £20 per adult, with concessions for charities, businesses in Plymouth’s business improvement districts and students.

For more information about the programme schedule and to purchase tickets visit www.visitplymouth.co.uk/tourism-conference