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Grimshaw’s Ship saved from demolition


Grimshaw’s iconic Plymouth Ship has been given a last minute reprieve from demolition after it was bought by South West property developer Burrington Estates

The developer has vowed to save the landmark 1993 building which has stood empty since local newspaper title Western News moved out in July 2013.

Nicknamed the Ship, the hillside structure is set to be transformed into a new business hub for local growing businesses and entrepreneurs. The move will also see the RIBA Award-winning building renamed ‘The Spirit of Enterprise’.

The Ship’s former owner – The Daily Mail – had submitted an application to flatten the HQ and had said its re-use was ‘unviable’. The plans to bulldoze the building had prompted outrage from locals and caused the Twentieth Century Society to submit an urgent listing application.

The building is currently awaiting a decision on the listing but English Heritage recommended the government grant it grade II*-listed status.

Mark Edworthy, chairman of Burrington Estates and founder of Thrive Hubs, said: ‘Saving Plymouth’s glass Ship building marks an investment of £5 million and we look forward to working alongside Plymouth City Council to ensure The Ship reaches its full potential within the city. 

‘Burrington Estates not only has a passion for the sensitive and appropriate renovation of historic and significant buildings, but a drive to breathe new life into them and The Ship very much fits into our overall company ethos. Our aim, as with all of our developments, is to restore them to their former glory and we are confident The Ship will be regarded as one of the places to do business in the city in no time at all.’

Henrietta Billings, senior conservation adviser at the Twentieth Century Society, added: ‘This looks like great news. We welcome the new owner’s positive approach to listing and their appreciation of the very special architecture of the Plymouth ‘ship’. All that remains now is a decision on the grade II* listing which we are expecting imminently from the new government.’



Readers' comments (2)

  • Chris Rogers

    Hmm, EH stopped the spot listing programme some years ago unless a bldg was threatened. The WDN bldg isn't, now, so presumably they will decline to assess?

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  • Very good news; whether or not this building is listed the fabric will surely be far easier to maintain 'as existing' than that of a much older building - and surely whatever alterations are required for its new function will be carried out sensitively, given the comments from the new owner.

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