Floating event pontoons for Plymouth’s historic Sutton Harbour

Sutton Harbour Group plc has applied for planning permission to install two large floating event pontoons in the harbour, along with a waterside pedestrian walkway linking Vauxhall Quay with Guys Quay. This will expand the range of uses of the water bordering the historic Barbican quarter, as well as enhancing pedestrian access around the harbourfront.

These floating event pontoons could be available to host a wide range of events on the water in Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour including live music concerts, film festivals, exercise classes and many others.

The event pontoons would be designed, manufactured and installed in a project funded by Sutton Harbour Group to help provide more events spaces on the waterfront in Britain’s Ocean City. It is hoped the applications will be progressed in time for the pontoons to be installed ahead of the Mayflower 400 commemorations in 2020.

Pontoons could be used for a range of community events, such as Plymouth Pirate Weekend and Seafood Festival, as well as to host live music concerts, floating film festivals, exercise classes such as yoga on the water, and live big screen showings of major sporting events. The pontoons and walkway would be similar to structures already used successfully for similar purposes at various other locations, including St Katharine Docks in London.

Philip Beinhaker, Executive Chairman of Sutton Harbour Group plc, said: “These pontoons and walkway represent an investment by Sutton Harbour Group to enhance and improve circulation and activity around Plymouth’s waterfront, making better use of the historic harbourside.

“The pontoons will create two new event spaces in water not being used as it is too shallow for mooring boats, and enable a range of activities to take place alongside the atmospheric quay which people can both take part in and enjoy watching from the harbourside. We would hope this can be approved by Plymouth City Council and achieved in time for the Mayflower 2020 year of events, when we expect to see an influx of visitors to the city and the waterfront.”

Two event pontoons would be installed in Sutton Harbour, one sited off Vauxhall Quay and one in the corner of the harbour near The Parade, with both connected by a floating walkway.

Pedestrians would be able to access the walkway and pontoons from two entry points – one in Vauxhall Quay via the existing gated entry to the marina for berth holders at Sutton Harbour Marina, which would be expanded and the bridge extended to ensure disabled access. A second, new entry point would be created on Guys Quay, in front of the car park, with a ramp fixed to the quay wall.

As they will be floating, moveable structures, the pontoons can be relocated to other locations around Sutton Harbour as future developments proceed in the area.

Overall development of Sutton Harbour is focused on the long under-used eastern side of Sutton Harbour, where Sutton Harbour Group has been granted planning permission to develop two signature, mixed-use residential and commercial buildings at Harbour Arch Quay and Sugar Quay.

Work is expected to start by the first quarter of 2020 on Harbour Arch Quay and by the second half of 2020 on Sugar Quay. Following these developments, Sutton Harbour Group will progress development on other improvements in the harbour, including the previously approved Boardwalk scheme.

Philip Beinhaker added: “Our primary focus is to enhance the public’s ability to access, enjoy and participle in events throughout Sutton Harbour. Our developments on the eastern side of the harbour are the immediate objective to enable the vitally needed regeneration and transformation of this under-utilised area, enlivening and enriching the eastern side of harbour for the benefit of all, including improving access to the National Marine Aquarium.

“The proposed event pontoons on the busier western side of the harbour will enable an immediate improvement to circulation and activity in this area while developments are underway, and help create new event spaces to best use of the water and harbourside for residents and for visitors to Plymouth.”

Sutton Harbour Group has applied for the required Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Plymouth City Council (PCC) consents to carry out installation work in the harbour to accommodate the pontoons and walkway.