A stairway to the foodie heaven of the Royal William Yard could be built as part of an exciting project to fill in the missing link on the South West Coast Path.
Plymouth’s Cabinet is to meet on 13 November to discuss the details of the project which has been offered a grant of £237,000 by Natural England.
The project would involve constructing a stairway into the yard through the existing defensive wall, linking Devil’s Point to the yard and giving walkers on this popular section of the South West Coast Path a connection all the way around the Stonehouse peninsula.
Not only would it enable coast path walkers to enjoy the stunning views, it would make the most of two outstanding natural and historical assets, the park and yard.
Urban Splash has already secured planning permission and listed building consent for the stairway and because the project has to be completed this financial year, the Cabinet paper recommends that Urban Splash is appointed contractor.
The report says:" As developers of the yard, Urban Splash is in a unique position to support delivery of the work. They are also very supportive of the proposal as it would open up a new route into the yard and enable them to support the local community’s aspirations.”
Cabinet Member for Planning and the Environment, Councillor Brian Vincent said: "This is something the community around here have wanted for a long time. It will open up a less used part of Devil’s Point and will also make the walk along the coast path even more attractive for our many visitors.
"The project fits so many of our priorities – it encourages people to walk, it will be good for visitors enjoying the incredible coast path, it is another way into the Royal William Yard, which is good for local business and it’s been designed to be in keeping with its beautiful surroundings.
Graham Bryant, project manager for the South West Coast Path said: "Royal William Yard and Devil’s Point are both fantastic assets for Plymouth and we’re delighted to be able to help create a link for people to enjoy these amazing locations on the fantastic South West Coast Path. As well as providing world-class access to world-class scenery, national trails support the local businesses that maintain them and attract visitors to the area.
"Devil’s Point is a remarkable little park, steeped in local history and a natural gem in its own right. It is home to protected species, right on the shore of the European Marine Site of Plymouth Sound and divers regularly enjoy the marine life in up to 40 feet of water just yards from the shore.”
Nathan Cornish from Urban Splash said: "The staircase link has long been part of our vision and ambition at Royal William Yard so we're delighted that it is progressing. We are fully behind any initiative that encourages more people to use these unique and historic spaces."
Richard Crocker, Chairman of the Friends of Devil’s Point Park added: "This is great news and something we’ve been pushing for here for a long time. We had several setbacks in getting funding for this project but we persisted until we succeeded. Its a superb example of an environmental improvement creating economic benefits so we are delighted by Natural England's support.”
The Friends will be contributing £3,000 they raised to help finance the project. The South West Coast Path Association will also be contributing £10,000 to the scheme.
The Council will not have to support the project financially but will manage the grant and ensure compliance with the grant conditions.