Agenda item

Plymouth and South Devon Freeport


Councillor Nicky Kelly (Leader of the Council), Kevin McKenzie (Policy and Intelligence Advisor) and Richard May (Head of Oceansgate and Marine Investment) presented the report which highlighted the following key areas –



Plymouth and South Devon Freeport was the result of a successful bid submitted by Plymouth City Council in February 2021;




the report provided members with an update on the progress and the Council’s intention to secure a formal decision endorsing the Full Business Case.


The Committee –



sought clarification -





on the governance arrangements and whether the full members would be members of the newly formed company, or whether the company would have different governance arrangements (and how the full members would link with the company);






on the EIA (disability accessibility); the EIA stated that the large majority of buildings within the Freeport would be closed to members of the public, so accessibility would not be an issue; however, accessibility did not just relate to members of the public but employees and contractors entering these buildings;






on the EIA (deprivation); the EIA stated that Plymouth had two local super output areas in the most deprived one percent of England; however, the mitigations had not referenced these areas;






on whether as part of the impact assessment, a transport assessment could be provided, in order to fully understand the movement of traffic between the Freeport sites;






on both the environmental and health impacts of moving goods and products between the sites within the Freeport;






on whether members of the public and local communities (affected by the sites identified within the Freeport) would have the opportunity to comment; (if the sites identified were brought forward as planning applications, how would the Council prepare for any mass planning objections);





raised -






concerns that the Freeport would exacerbate the parking issues being experienced in Devonport which was having a detrimental impact on the local community; additional people accessing the sites, movement of goods and the increase in carbon emissions would further impact residents; parking in the area had been made worse by the Oceansgate site, the opening of Devonport Market Hall and the reinvestment in the dockyard.


Councillor Coker advised that he would be happy to liaise with officers relating to specific parking issues in Devonport. He had tried over a number of years to get Babcock and the Royal Navy to implement a green travel plan but to no avail. The proposed provision of a multi storey car park would not address this issue, as vehicle would still need to drive to this facility.


Anthony Payne (Strategic Director for Place) advised that he would be happy to take this issue up with Babcock and the Royal Navy.  However, this issue was outside of the Freeport project.  He was currently waiting for feedback from Babcock and the Royal Navy with regard to the provision of their sustainable transport plans.  Once this information had been received, Ward Councillors would be engaged with but at this stage, he was unclear when this information would be provided.


Councillor Coker highlighted that in order to access the Freeport sites, people would need to drive through the local community.


The Committee agreed -–



to recommend to Cabinet that the Committee endorses the submission of the Full Business Case subject to the report setting out -





the business case for Oceansgate, the capital requirement and now it will be met;






governance arrangements and the legal status of the Freeport Authority;






the operating model and staff recruitment;






the contractual commitments to landowners that will be set out in the site Specific Agreements;






the revenue commitment required from Plymouth City Council, as a landowner;






legal obligations arising from the customs sites;





public consultation process and public feedback loops to be clarified and public consultation to be built into the delivery of the Freeport using means such as planning process and bespoke engagement(s) as appropriate:




the Equality Impact Assessment consider issues of diversity (eg employee access) and skills support in areas of deprivation together with noise and emissions/pollution between sites, as well as on site;




the Carbon Net Zero Strategy for the Freeport considers carbon impact and seeks to minimise carbon outputs in areas such as people and goods moving between sites and also on site.


Supporting documents: