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Fourth Redevelopment at Royal William Yard Steams Ahead

Fourth Redevelopment at Royal William Yard Steams Ahead

Award-winning regeneration company Urban Splash are moving on with the redevelopment of Royal William Yard in Plymouth, a dis-used former naval yard, which has already been partly redeveloped to create mixed-use space.

The latest planning consent is for work to begin on a fourth building, New Cooperage, which will offer 20,000 sq ft of office and retail use.

Work commenced as soon as planning permission was granted for the New Cooperage building, the designs for which were drawn up by local Totnes-based architects Gillespie Yunnie. This is the fourth building in the site to be redeveloped by Urban Splash in partnership with the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA).

Commenting on the approval of the latest development phase, Nathan Cornish, director at Urban Splash, said:

“To get planning consent and start on site with a speculative office scheme at New Cooperage in the current climate shows our confidence both in the Plymouth market and in our offer at Royal William Yard.”

Referring to the hugely successful Mills Bakery scheme, which saw the complete transformation of the Grade I Listed building into apartments and commercial space, also at Royal William Yard, Nathan added:

“If we can let 90% of the space in Mills Bakery in a recession then it just goes to show that we have a special asset here that we are keen to invest further in.”

Carl Budden, the South West RDA’s Head of Regeneration for Plymouth, commented that the planning consent for the New Cooperage building “marks another significant step forward for the Royal William Yard”.

He added: “We believe that the RDA’s investment in the Yard and our partnership with Urban Splash over the last ten years has now reached a tipping point, and with the success of the Mills & Bakery development, and the start of works to the New Cooperage, we are beginning to see the Yard realise its huge potential.”


The historic Royal William Yard is being slowly transformed from a disused naval yard into an eye-catching waterfront location, which is attracting national publicity and enticing such names to its commercial space as the Ministry of Defence and the University of Plymouth.

The 18-acre site dates back to the 1830s and once played a vital role for the British Navy. Its use gradually declined after World War II, until its demise in the early 1990s when the decision was made to close the site.

The yard remained out of use until 1999, when it was acquired by the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) and plans for the redevelopment of the Listed buildings commenced, under the watchful eye of English Heritage.

The Clarence and the Brewhouse were the first two buildings to be restored, followed by the hugely successful Mills Bakery which was completed in early 2009. The New Cooperage makes up the fourth building in the series.

The grand scheme for the historic site is to transform the buildings into a mix of apartments, office space and retail outlets, as well as creating public space and leisure facilities such as a café restaurant.

Key to this scheme, and to the work of Urban Splash, is to focus on retaining the character of the building and to keep the renovation in-line with its historic look and feel. This includes reusing original materials such as stone walls, timber floors and wooden beams ΓÇô a theme which is consistent throughout much of the company’s other work.

Throughout its regeneration, the Royal William yard development has involved many different organisations, including the Environment Agency, English Heritage, Plymouth City Council and the SWRDA, and has been recognised by English Heritage as one of the UK’s best historic developments.

“Pivitol year”

The redevelopment of the yard is attracting many visitors to the area, and it is now thought of as Plymouth’s number one waterfront destination.

Earlier in the year a new daily waterbus service between the yard and the Barbican was launched, and moorings at the marina were made available for visitors or long term lettings.

Commenting on the work to date, Nathan Cornish said: “Looking back, 2010 has been the pivotal year for the Royal William Yard. It has been a hard market to work in, but the stunning buildings, the waterfront location and the historical backdrop has helped us generate a lot of interest and we’ve signed up some fantastic tenants.

“In the past many people have seen the yard as a place for amazing apartments by the waterside. I think that this now shows our commitment to a mix of uses at Royal William Yard which will only add further to the environment that is being created.”

Find out more about Urban Splash online at

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Author: | January 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

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