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November 2003
A vision for Plymouth

City rebirth could herald end for Pavilions
A vision for Plymouth
David Mackay's proposals aim to boost Plymouth's fortunes and sense of pride.
One man's vision to turn Plymouth into a more happening and lively place involves the demolition of one of the city's main entertainment venues, the Plymouth Pavilions.
Watch BBC Spotlight's Neil Gallacher report on the plans for a rebirth of Plymouth.
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Plymouth Pavilions

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Smeaton's Tower
The Pavilions, Plymouth's main live music venue, should be knocked down to help improve access from the city centre to the sea.

That's one of the recommendations from the master planner appointed to draw up a new vision for the city - and the local council says he may well be right.

David Mackay is a world renowned architect who repairs cities and the latest broken city to call on him is Plymouth.

The most unexpected problem he has identified is the Plymouth Pavilions.

Plymouth Pavilions
Under new proposals the Plymouth Pavilions could disappear.
Built in the 1980s, it's a concert venue, a conference hall, ice rink, swimming pool, and in his view a general obstacle to the waterfront.

Mr Mackay's radical long-term vision for improving Plymouth involves knocking the complex down.

He says the proposal is to connect the centre of the city from Western Approach to Millbay, through a broad avenue which will take the place of the Pavilions.

"The Pavilions will be removed in their time and this very broad avenue from Western Approach will lead directly down to the sea," explained Mr Mackay.

This is just one of Mackay's proposals; the idea is to boost Plymouth's fortunes and sense of pride.

Replacing the Pavilions is not certain to happen but it could well do, in maybe a decade or so.

David Mackay
An eye for the future, Architect David Mackay

Another of the ideas is to construct two 18-storey towers on the eastern side of Sutton Harbour behind the National Marine Aquarium.

He says the towers would give the city more of a metropolitan feel.

Mr Mackay has also suggested creating a spectacular ribbon of light on The Hoe - by repaving the walkway around the foreshore in non-slip glass lit from underneath.

And there's lots more; Mr Mackay says he wants to keep the best of the 1940s Abercrombie masterplan but change the bits that failed to live up to the original dream.

Mackay, who is based in Barcelona, was officially asked to come to Plymouth and make challenging suggestions.

Now it's up to the local planning authority - the City Council - to try and follow his vision. But will that happen?

Councillor Jean Nelder says nothing should be ruled out.

"I think everything he's talked about should be considered," she said.

"It would be very silly for us to turn our backs on any of the ideas he's come up with. We need to look at them, they are very exciting indeed."

Your Comments
Click HERE to add your views

Neil from plymouth
i have lived here all my life and i dont see wot you ppl are moaning about!! dont like the place where you live , you have the option of moving out

liz ex plymouth
I am now ex Plymouth and quite thankfull to be so. I lived in Plymouth from 1965 until last year, I left because my husband was give a job abroad but to be truthful I was quite greatful he was offered it, cos it got us out of Plymouth and off the Barbican which has been totally ruined by the Council and it's allowed planning decisions. I used to work at a Marina in Plymouth and the visitors used to ask what was that awful building behind Charles Church that looks like it's falling over? And why is it now like driving down a canyon as you come along Exeter Street? What had happened to the feeling of openess and breezyness that was Plymouth as you entered? So much for the wonderful plans for Plymouth such a lovely historical city most of which now is being hidden by high rise appartment blocks that look like piles of port-a-potties so historical.

Laurence, Plymouth.
Quite frankly, the Pavilions as a music venue is an acoustic abortion, and the idea of linking the city closer within its maritime context is a commendable idea, but to take away the venue from the people of the city and the surrounding region is depriving the city of certain entertainment and cultural experiences that the people deserve. Replace all of the existing facilities with newer, better ones, within walking distance of the city. This is one of the most important venues in the region.

Noone from Mutley
Recently moved to Plymouth to start uni here, and found it to easily be the most ugly city I've ever been to. City is a questionable word. Drake's Circus is an architectural joke, but it's a step forward, or a step somewhere at least. The new Roland Levinsky building is something to be proud of. Other than those two buildings, I'm not sure what's happened there since Plymouth was rebuilt the first time. Knocking the pavilions down is a great start. Having recently visited I actually felt embarrased that musicians make the effort to play there. We were sat on school chairs throughout the gig. It's not all bad mind. And there's lots of cranes around and signs that say 'redevelopment' on them. By the time I leave it'll probably be pretty nice.

Graham ex-Plymouth
'That' shopping centre is a foul blot on a once beautiful landscape, he should be shot.

William Wilson
Looks at the planners so called VISION b4 david.Staples and gala bingo building..........enough said.

I am amazed at the comments so far in regards to the potential regeneration of Plymouth. Unfortunately due to under investment and lack of vision from city planners/councillors we have a visualistic nightmare of post war concrete with huge waste grounds through out the area. The new Drakes Circus shopping centre has gave a small incite to the potential of the City. We need to attract people to the city with money which is vital to the cities economy. I do not agreed with all of his ideas but its a starting point. All the people harping on about central park and the possible new Pavilions relocation is baffling. If, like me you think the pavilions a dive with no acoustic value what so ever, will feel no loss of this building. Or are to many people looking back at the past with rose tinted glasses and fond memories without looking ahead.

If you got rid of the pavilions we would have to travel stupidly far to see any decent bands. C'mon, think about it, we get people coming from cornwall and around devon to see bands like My Chemical Romance, who would never even think of coming down this far. Think about what the young people could be missing before you demolish an iconic part of Plymouth. Fiona Plympton

Ali .Plymouth
Good God! What is happening to our city? David Mackay has given us his so called vision for a more ' happening ' city and from evidence seen so far what a lurid 'vision' it is. Leave the Pavillions alone, leave central park as it is . In fact Mr Mackay, Leave Plymouth and return to Barcelona, and please take your vision with you!

Sue Plymouth
I am afraid I do not share David Mackays' vision It seems more like a night mare to me ........ While on the subject ... hands off Central Park is a beautiful green space in the heart of what is fast becoming a 'corporate' concrete city!!! The ordinary people of Plymouth will not be able to afford to use the planned super Life Centre. Its free to enjoy at the moment. Spend the money re-vamping the existing facilities - much cheaper and more environmentally friendly

Vicki , Plymouth
You can't knock down the Pavilions, thousands of people come into it from far and wide, Plymouth would lose so much money, just to make the sea more accessible! Why not just improve parking on the hoe instead!!

Nick, Plymouth
Don't knock them down, they're a prize asset for plymouth. Everything goes on there (including some of my exams). the pavillions are the heart and soul of plymouth, especially the swimming pool

Selene - Argentina
Although I'm from another country and even more I have never been to London, I consider, as a tourist, that destroying one of the most important entertainment venues it's not a good idea. As I get from the article and from the comments the people from the city have written, Plymouth is a very nice place to enjoy yourself and to have fun with friends or with your family, so I think you should leave Plymouth as it is now.

Alain from Plymouth
It's a little disappointing to see that people lack the vision to see what Plymouth should be. Instead of trying to cling on to the woeful facilities at the Pavillions, everyone in Plymouth should be pushing the council to get on with building the Central Park Leisure complex. Plymouth is the premier city of Devon and Cornwall and should boast the facilities normally associated with such a sizeable town. It's about time that the figure skaters, hockey players and swimmers (we need a proper pool as well) of Plymouth got decent facilities. The Pavillions served its purpose as a temporary gap-fill, now it's time to get rid of it and move on.

Kimberly from Wales
I have been living in Plymouth for nearly a year now and I have to say the Pavillions I a key par to my life hosting a full range of entertainment. By destorying the Pavillions you are taking away the heart of the city!

i think plymouth is really good bring your kids down to the ice and swimming losts fo fun for all of you people

Jacky Richards west park plymouth
we as a family think that knocking the povillions down would be a terible waste of a good tourist attraction. we ejoy going for a swim every week all year round. Its great exercise and fun for all the family from very young to not so young.Good parking in the heart of the city with a connecting walkway to keep u dry and safe(as safe as anywhere can be these days),it's a shame it has been let down by looking so shabby from filth, vandalism and the lift has not been working for months.If the building was knocked down we would, out of our council tax, have to return the european grant we were given to help build it. so how would that help regenorate the city. we should clean up and promote the assets the city has got and stop coming up with useless money wasteing hairbrained schemes.

Candice Maire - Eggbuckland Secondary
This is a great idea to rebuild the pavillions but it could be a waste of money because it is already great and it would be a big waste of money.

Sharon Gawman, Plymouth
The Pavillions aren't just about hosting music events, I often enjoy ice skating there with my partner. He's from Cumbria so I think the cold environment makes him feel at home! Also the Pavillions have been a venue for party political conferences, and they are a very important building in the city. Please don't demolish the Paviliions!

emma tyler
I feel the pavillions has many beneifts for the city being important for young and old that live here. By all means the structure may need improvements and if the city would beneift from it being demolished I hope that city planners will ensure they re-place it in an even better location and with more modern facilities so we can continue to host some of the best shows in this more isolated part of the uk.

Ian Stewart, Plymouth
I think the Pavilions is an important place to many people that live in Plymouth. It provides activities that the whole family can enjoy. To Knock it down just to provide a broad avenue would be a desaster. It is about time that the City Council spent money raised from rates on services for people in Plymouth and not waste that money, on grand scemes that the city does not need.

leanne squires from plymouth
hey im a student and i use the pavillions alot i love the place you cant knock it down its one of the biggest socail attractions in plymouth its alway buzy and they hold some of the best concerts in the world. ive lived in plymouth my whole life and ive always been to the pavillions for swimming iceskating and concerts you cant knock it down know

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