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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 October 2006, 05:29 GMT 06:29 UK
The changing face of Plymouth
Plymouth's Drake Circus Shopping Centre opens its doors for the first time on Thursday.

BBC News spoke to a range of people to gauge opinion about the impact of the centre's opening and the changing face of the city.

Rachael Whitson Polaroid
The PR Expert
Rachael Whitson

Mel Forsyth Polaroid
The Chocolatier
Mel Forsyth

Ben Cornish Polaroid
The Teenager
Ben Cornish

Geoffrey Lintern Polaroid
The Pensioner
Geoffrey Lintern

Tim Burbridge Polaroid
The Lawyer
Tim Burbidge

Debra Searle Polaroid
The Adventurer
Debra Searle

RACHAEL WHITSON, director Absolute PR and Marketing

Rachael Whitson
Centre will give the city a "boost".
Plymouth's two biggest assets are its wonderful waterside location and maritime history, both of which have helped to ensure a high awareness of the city.

But perhaps what is less known is the diversity on offer; the opening of a multi-million pound shopping centre is going to plug a big gap and give the city's reputation and retail environment a real boost.

I believe it will make Plymouth the envy of its peers and broaden its appeal, at home and further afield, making it a more attractive marketing proposition.

I believe it will make Plymouth the envy of its peers

The ripple-effect from such a dramatic improvement to Plymouth's heart will be widespread, the challenge will surely be to ensure that the resulting benefits are used wisely and for Plymouth's long term prosperity


Geoffrey Lintern
Geoffrey retired to Plymouth about 20 years ago
I retired to Plymouth about 20 years ago and I haven't really got a lot of faith in it becoming an ideal city.

There are more nice places to go now in Plymouth but there is still a lot more they need to do smarten it up.

I don't like the design and the way it comes out from behind the old church doesn't do it any favours - it looks as if it's falling.

I will go and have a look at the shops in there though.

But whether it turns out to be a success remains to be seen.
It seems like they are only spending money on the immediate city centre

It seems like they are only spending money on the immediate city centre and it would be good if some of that money could be used to smarten up other parts of Plymouth

MEL FORSYTH, Forsyth and Brown Chocolate Shop and Cafe

Mel Forsyth
Mel says the changes happening in Plymouth are "very exciting"
I've lived in Plymouth all my life and absolutely love it here.

The changes happening are very exciting and the city feels like it's surging with energy and positivity.

In the past Plymouth has always felt like it's been left behind, and hasn't been very inspirational.

Now the city will be something to be proud of and it will attract more visitors, things are really happening in Plymouth.

I wouldn't have considered anywhere else when I started my business. I have a chocolate shop and cafe, which is still in its infancy and I've had tremendous support and feedback, from both local people and tourists.

I feel excited that my business will evolve as the city evolves

I chose the Barbican in Plymouth for my business because I wanted a real speciality chocolate shop feel to the location and image.

We sell hand made chocolates and hot chocolate, which is a first for Plymouth.

I feel excited that my business will evolve as the city evolves, and that can only be a good thing, for the people of Plymouth and also Plymouth as a whole

TIM BURBIDGE, commercial property partner Bond Pearce

Tim Burbridge Bond Pearce
Bond Pearce has handled the legal work for all 47 lettings to date
Bond Pearce has been involved with the Drake Circus development since its inception and we have since handled the legal work for all 47 lettings to date on behalf of the developer P&O Estates.

As a substantial commercial law firm with its roots in Plymouth we want to see the city thrive.

I'm confident that Drake Circus will quickly become one of the leading shopping destinations in the South West.

A number of local retailers complement the major players
Local involvement can traditionally get overlooked with schemes of this size but we've been fortunate that P&O has used local agents and other professionals.

That has helped attract a number of local retailers into the scheme to complement the major players

BEN CORNISH, teenager

Ben Cornish
Ben thinks change is a good thing

I think that the new shopping centre is a good idea as it allows Plymouth to have something new for a change.

I am unsure if it is a success because that can only be determined after it opens.

The mall has chosen a good time to open, because people can use it for Christmas shopping with more choice than before.

What would make it all perfect would be a city centre skate park
The only shops that would interest me would be Billabong and Game as these shops are targeted at my age group and style.

I will shop there and hope it becomes a part of Plymouth that fits in with all the other shops.

A change is good.

I know that people have said some negative things about the design but it's modern and I think that's good.

What would make it all perfect though would be a city centre skate park

DEBRA SEARLE, rowed the Atlantic solo

Debra Searle
"This is all going to help make it more cosmopolitan," says Debra
It's a really exciting time for Plymouth.

It's the 14th largest city in England and that should count for something.

Drake Circus starts to put Plymouth on the map and show it's not a "standing-still" city, but is moving forward.

And it's not just Drake Circus.

It will help make it more of a funky city
All the regeneration shows we're not going to be an unknown city, we're standing with our arms in the air telling people to take notice.

This is all going to help make it more cosmopolitan.

People will travel, not just for shopping, but to take part in the vibe.

I hope it will be part of an ongoing process of improvements and take away some of the negative aspects and negative press the city has had over the years such as problems in Union Street.

It will help make it more of a funky city, and make people think "Wow, what a place to stop on the way to the Eden Project"


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