What's Going On?
Right now we have no idea what’s going on with Victoria Square. Victoria Square comprises a Lidl supermarket, an open ‘square’ and two multi-storey car parks; the larger one known as the Garfield Road carpark.
Rumours persist. Ideas and schemes come and go. Apparently the Garfield Road carpark has been slated for demolition. It’s (supposedly) unsafe. Although the word is that the only thing unsafe about it are the railings on the roof.
The Lidl supermarket will almost certainly see Lidl pull out (only to relocate on green field land on the edge of town). The company has stated in black & white that it will not extend its occupancy past 2024.
The Garfield Road carpark is another example of a structure that has been allowed to rot. There exists, apparently, a report concerning the state of the carpark but the council is unwilling to share that with the community.
The so-called square is a disgraceful barren space. Three sad looking trees sit on one side of the square are all that adorn a bird poop-covered area. A new toilet block sits on the other side of the square which does little for the aesthetics. The rumour mill persists regarding what the council would like to do with the area.
Needless to say, the community knows virtually nothing. The only clue we have is the following image taken from a TDA website. It clearly shows the demolition of, perhaps the entirely of, the existing Victoria Square and the erection of many tower blocks with a large area set aside for car parking.
Comprehensive redelopment of site to include Cinema, car parking, housing and retail as mixed use complex.
Entire supermarket, retail and two linked multi storey parking buildings shown demolished with various schemes put forward in last 10 years to include;-
• Comprehensive mixed use complex to include cinema at time of Mayor's Vision
• Partial redevelopment of multi storey car park with terrace of housing on Garfield Road
• Redevelopment of whole site for housing
Work to date
Various feasibility studies and schemes produced by consultants over the years. Most recent technical one on town parking supports idea of getting rid of the mutli storey car park!
In the meantime, a new toiler block has been erected on the western side of the square It might be an award winning toilet to spend a penny but is total crap, as an addition to the public realm!
It's blighted the land; an opportuity to screen the railway line and large former Woolworths building behind.
Has welcomed rdevelopment in principle but also pointed out long ago that the existing development was in fact built on part of original Victoria Park. The community have put forward ideas for a new town square linked to Victoria Park, as the starting point for any new proposal ie. start with the public realm/community space. If you start with the buildings, you invariably end up with poor quality public spaces - the left over bits of land.
Community have expressesd concern over planned loss of a much needed town centre car park, especially when there is serious underprovision for the new hotels, just a stone's throw away. There is a very high chance of Crossways carpark disappearingalong with surface car park adjacent ot the bus station.
It is imperative for the community to monitor everything going on here. There is too much at stake and too big an opportunity to be missed. The community have provided the Council with sketch ideas and information to show how it is the perfect place away from traffic, to bring the community together everyday, for events such as farmer markets, activities, lunchtime music, dance, displays etc. It could become town's daytime 'events space', alongside the beach's nightime 'events space' on the prom.
Again, we must ensure a comprehensive approach for the each site, as well as the town as a whole, rather than solving one of it's problem in isolation eg. housing need.
The huge plans that will change the face of Paignton forever
Monday 21 October 2019