The first phase of the project is an upgrade of the station concourse and customer facilities around it. Beyond this, the city council is working with train operator GWR, Network Rail and the University of Plymouth to work up design proposals for the wider regeneration of the station area.
A planning application for change of use is to be submitted for Intercity House, which towers alongside the station, to be entirely rejuvenated and restyled.
The wider package of work includes demolition of the rail incident safety centre building on the east side of the railway station to enable construction of a new multi-storey car park. There will also be public space works and improved pedestrian access.
Once the new car park is built, the old one will be demolished, potentially making way for a hotel and gateway development.
Plymouth City Council leader Tudor Evans said: “This kickstarts a pledge that we made to Plymouth in May to deliver a new gateway to Plymouth at the train station with a new entrance overlooking the city, a new car park and more spaces for business and retail.
“We’re leading on this regeneration, moving from the drawing board and concepts to planning real change on the ground. This is an extraordinarily complex scheme, but the timetable for much needed change is coming together.”
GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “This is an exciting project for the city and for the railway. We have now started to operate brand new 10 car long distance trains to Plymouth and Cornwall, and we are delighted with the enthusiasm and willingness of our partners at Plymouth City Council and Network Rail to develop a project at Plymouth that will be great for our customers and will give Plymouth the standard of service and the quality of welcome that a city of its size and stature deserves.
“We are really pleased to have reached this next milestone and to kick off the design work for the concourse, alongside plans for a much improved car park and public realm.”