Plymouth’s wild swimmers will be able to rest on and jump off new swimming pontoons due to be installed as part of a raft of goodies to help the city make waves as the UK’s first National Marine Park.
The floating pontoons, which could be moored off Tinside by early summer, are among new facilities that will appear this year, thanks to a grant worth £625,000 from the Getting Building Fund.
As well as the pontoons and associated services on the Hoe Foreshore, other work is planned including physical improvements to the waterfront, steps and slipways as well as the installation of electric vehicle boat charging points to improve key access points to the water.
The project worth over £1,150,000 in total also includes investing in digital infrastructure to enable Plymouth to host the exciting SailGP event which is due to hit the waters here in July. The remaining sum will be match funded by the Council.
Council leader Tudor Evans said: “This is just the start. The national marine park is all about getting more people to enjoy the Sound – either on it or in it.
“We have a vision of what we want the park to be and like any national park, we want to make it easy for people to get in it. These are practical measures that mean more of us can enjoy and feel safe in the water of Plymouth Sound. More importantly this news sends a very strong message – the national marine park is on its way.”
As well as the swimming platforms, repairs to at least three public slipways around Plymouth Sound will mean paddleboarders, kayakers and other water users will get easier access to the water.
The project is not just about people getting into the water to have fun, it will support the creation of 28 jobs and apprenticeships, as well as 13 temporary construction jobs.
The project signals the start of capital investment to unlock the economic, social and environmental benefits of the National Marine Park.
Councillor Evans said: “It all just fits so well with our mission to be a greener and more sustainable city. The National Marine Park aims to sustain and nurture the marine environment – not just for the tourism sector, but for our local residents so that they can enjoy the health and well-being benefits of being beside the sea.”
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The HotSW LEP’s Getting Building Fund aims to support shovel-ready projects that will contribute to our area’s post-COVID recovery. We are delighted to agree funding towards Plymouth’s national marine park, which will support the local economic recovery, create jobs and provide fantastic new facilities for the community and visitors to enjoy.”
The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership was allocated money from the Government’s Getting Building Fund to invest in major infrastructure projects to support economic growth across the city. The project is one of a number to be successfully submitted by the Council and partners across the city.
The projects, chosen after a robust selection process, will play an important role in Plymouth’s economic recovery programme, Resurgam, by supporting employment, regeneration, skills and innovation in the region.