Apologies to those of you north of the boarder, which really isn’t hard considering Plymouth is one of the most southern cities in the UK – but this blog is dedicated to our stomping ground, where Direct Trade Supplies was born and looks to thrive. Plymouth is an interesting location with a diverse set of terrains. You have the monster hills of St Judes and Lipson, the historic cobbled streets of the Barbican, the industrial horizon of the dockyard and the big green patch of Central Park. This coastal city has a lot going for it.
Although Plymouth is lucky to be surrounded by the sea and situated very close to Dartmoor there’s still room for improvement. Buildings in the town centre continue to sport an outdated 70s rebuild, the Staples building looks garishly out-of-sorts behind the archaic bombed-out Charles Church, the Drake Circus shopping mall seems like it tried to please eight different designers at once – resulting in a confused design, there’s also Union Street and Mutley Plain that could do with a thorough spruce up. Despite its flaws it’s still a desirable city to live in, especially for those that uproot from other cities and fall in love with the diverse nature and environs that surround the city.
You’ll have to bear with us on this one, the list is a little loose, compiled of landmarks that should embrace decorative lighting as well as areas that could benefit from general lights for security and safety purposes. We welcome any additional suggestions too! Just leave us a comment at the bottom of our blog page. For now let’s get cracking me’Janners.
Trefusis Park is on the cusp of a number of area codes, those being Compton, Efford and Lipson. The park offers a long stretch of greenery that hosts a football pitch during season time, a play park at the bottom, a concrete basketball court, a few dodgy looking changing rooms and a stream that flows beside one of the park’s paths.
In the day time the park is often filled with scenes you’d expect to see – kids playing in the park, teens riding bikes and dog walkers out in force, but at night time it’s a different story.
For anyone who has lived in Compton, Efford, Laira or Lipson, the park offers a convenient cut through to save you time on your journey. However when it’s dark Trefusis supplies little to no lighting at all, making it a pitch black gamble.
After a few drinks you might have enough dutch courage to bowl through the park but when you’re sober it poses quite a daunting task. For years it has been the same and locals know it, yet for some reason the failure to provide efficient lighting at night time continues to plague Trefusis Park.
Probably the most famous landmark of Plymouth – Smeatons Tower lighthouse. First in use between 1759-1877, created by civil engineer John Smeaton, the lighthouse stands proud overlooking the water and the promenade of Plymouth Hoe.
In the summertime this plot of land is an absolute hot bed for both tourists and locals that wish to soak up the sun whilst enjoying the views of the Plymouth Sound. That notorious Beatles photograph is also a favourable scene for groups to try to re-enact.
Before you point out that Smeatons Tower already has lighting, we are aware of this, LED lights were introduced at the base of the tower for the very first time in April 2015. The beacon at the top of the lighthouse also illuminates at night time, however apart from special events such as fireworks night – the tower rarely experiments with light shows.
We urge owners to get a little bit more creative. When they turned the lighthouse green to support Plymouth Argyle’s promotion play-offs, that was great! But we crave more display lighting, some silhouettes to coincide with city events/history would do nicely.
An irk for any city or town is dirty, dark and drab underpasses. They are intimidating at night time and could generally do with an uplifting makeover. We are not suggesting that every city subway should be turned into a magical place for people to stop and marvel, they are what they are, but if not decorative lighting many could do with a couple more lights to increase safety and clarity.
A subway in Birmingham (pictured) underwent a colourful transformation using LED lights. This not only enhanced the appeal of the location – becoming a talking/focal point, but it also provided extra light for locals that take the route by foot. Although its appearance is vivid and striking, implementing colourful LED lights aren’t as expensive as you may think. Perhaps the subway underpasses of Plymouth could take inspiration from our Brummie counterparts?
3.3 million pounds was spent on the restoration of Plymouth’s Tinside Pool in 2003 and although in the past it was included in the top 10 best outdoor pools in Europe, it doesn’t get used half as much as it should do.
Opening of the pool stretches from May to September, with general closing times at 6pm. The introduction of decorative waterproof LED strip lights around the pool or marine grade flood lights could easily extend this time.
Not only would this help to prolong the pools service to the public but some beautiful lighting would further accentuate the pool as an important and attractive feature of the city. Views from out at sea and back to the land would also benefit from the lighting. We are certain it’ll impress first time visitors to Plymouth who are travelling on the Brittany Ferries.
The Bottom Of Central Park
The bottom of Central Park by the graveyard is known to be fairly dubious. Some parts of the park are fairly well lit, especially up near the new Life Centre complex and around the top of the park, however the bottom (from the path by graveyard up to Barn Park) could do with a lot more lighting.
Oddly enough people still use this as their chosen jogging route at night time, even though various muggings and crimes have occurred in this exact location over the years. All it would take is for some new lamp posts to installed, security flood lights to be hoisted into the trees or lights to be hooked up with PIR motion sensors so they switch on when movement is detected.
The overarching tree canopies, surrounding bushes and high rising banks all contribute in making this section of the park appear dark and dreary, even when it isn’t in the dead of night. Using your mobile phone as a torch probably isn’t the best solution either because it might just attract the sort of people you are trying to avoid!
Bretonside Bus Station
Some would argue that there’s more pressing issues to be tackled at Plymouth’s Bretonside Bus Station. Yet once the fundamentals are out the way, it could then be over to some stylish and energy efficient lighting to compliment the changes and apply the finishing touches. For one of the busiest transportation hubs in the city you’d expect it to go to great lengths to make it feel hospitable but unfortunately it’s somewhat lacking in looks department.
Low level marker lighting or all-in-one LED downlights could fill the corridor between the White Rabbit club and the public toilets. They could even spend money on illuminating the front of Bretonside Bus Station, where the majority of travellers first step off. Welcome to Plymouth signs spelled out in LED lights could present the perfect message to first time arrivals in the city.
Thank you for reading our six places where Plymouth could benefit from lighting. Please feel free to leave any additions to this list in the comment box below!