Exeter Civic Society

Exeter Civic Society

Exeter now

At the start of the 21st century Exeter has a population of 118,000 (2011 national census), a 36% increase over the past 50 years (since the 1961 census). And a further 20% growth is projected through to the 2020s with the construction of a further 12,000 homes. The population of Exeter could increase by a further 25,000 people by 2030.

As developments come forward the Society scrutinises and comments upon them, sending our response to the appropriate Council in an endeavour to ensure Exeter’s development is of the very highest standards. Planning applications can be viewed on the City Council’s website.

We also take an interest in developments on our boundaries where a further 1,000 homes are planned to the east of Pinhoe in East Devon, and 2,000 homes south of Alphington in Teignbridge District. Planners tell us that Exeter’s expansion is driven by a desire for economic and commercial development, both within the City and to the east, and for each job an additional home should be built to support the expansion of the workforce.

Much of the commercial development is taking place outside the City boundary with the construction of a Science Park to the east of the M5 and Skypark to the north of Exeter airport.  Further information can be found on the website of the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point Partnership, and Exeter City Council Local Plan website

Some of the major developments are:

Bus and Coach Station redevelopment of mixed use retail, leisure, cinema and a new bus station. The development received outline planning approval in January 2016 and we can expect detailed planning applications over the next year.  The City Council will enter into an agreement with The Crown Estate Commissioners to develop the retail, restaurant and cinema elements of the development. The city council will develop the new leisure centre and bus station. Developments can be monitored on the City Council’s website

Retail Park at Honiton Road near the Met Office:  mixed use development with retail and warehousing units as well as a hotel (now built). The scheme has outline planning approval with full planning approval having been granted for the hotel which opened in 2014. The developers are now trying to obtain permission for retail on the whole site, with the city council challenging this.

A new proposal emerged in 2014 for the development of the B&Q site in Avocet Road, Sowton. Developers want to replace the store with a range of retail outlets, although they say the total floor area will be less than the present store.

Commercial development at Marsh Barton, adjacent to Bad Homburg Way:  in 2013 developers raised ground levels to alleviate flooding, and the first planning application was submitted for a car sales showroom in the autumn of 2013. At the start of 2016 the first car dealership is in operation and a second is being built.

Exeter University continues to develop new accommodation and to redevelop their existing building stock.  The University’s success continues to bring more students to the city resulting in the construction of large student accommodation blocks in the centre of the city, as well as smaller developments closer to the university. Many underused sites in the city centre are being snapped up for student accommodation. Recent completions include The Printworks on Western Way, buildings adjacent to the Odeon in Sidwell Street, Portland House in New North Road, and conversions of the former hospital building in Southernhay. In 2016 there are proposals for the replacement of the Radmore & Tucker building in Frog Street, conversion and extension of Renslade House at Exe bridges, and multi-storey blocks adjacent to the football ground. This last development could result in a replacement of the outdated spectator stand next to Well Street.

Ikea submitted a planning application for a new store in the autumn 2013 for a site alongside the A379 close to Exeter Chiefs rugby ground, which was subsequently approved. This development, if approved, will have a major impact on the city by encouraging customers from across the region and resulting in many additional car journeys into the city. At the start of 2016 there is no detailed planning application.

A new station is proposed at Marsh Barton to help reduce dependence on car use. At the start of 2016 plans have stalled.

Major Housing developments:

Newcourt – between Topsham Road, the A377 and the motorway. Up to 3000 homes are planned with the central first phase of 450 homes complete. On-going housing to the north and south started construction in 2013 and in 2016 much of this is nearing completion. The development includes a community hall (now built), one or two primary schools, shops, and a commercial centre. A new train station on the Exeter to Exmouth Avocet line was opened in 2015. The proposed Ikea store is located on the east side of this development.

Monkerton – between Hill Barton Road, Honiton Road and Pinhoe. Up to 2000 homes are planned with an initial phase under construction in the summer of 2013, and in 2016 this is nearing completion. A second phase commenced in 2015 which will see a new roundabout on the inner by-pass on Hill Barton Road. Exeter College has completed a new training centre, a new Primary school is planned as well as a train station and more commercial units. The development will extend to the east of the motorway in East Devon in the Blackhorse area. The Seabrook Orchards phase of this development commenced in 2015, which will include a new primary school.

Pinhoe Quarry and Brickworks off Harrington Lane – 700 homes, with a home for older people.  The brickworks site started construction in 2013 and could be completed in 2016 but it will be some time before construction starts in the quarry as it has to be re-profiled by raising the ground level. With this development is a proposal to build a new road from Harrington Lane to Exhibition Way leading to Pinhoe Road. In 2016 this has stalled due to an application for part of the green space to be designated as village green.

Bishop’s Court Quarry off Apple Lane, Sowton – 250 homes in a former sand quarry with reprofiling having commenced in 2013. Construction began in 2014, and by 2016 over 50% of homes are complete.

There are proposals for housing on the site of Exeter Deaf Academy on Topsham Road, although the school were hoping Asda would take the site – they pulled out at the end of 2015. The school intend to relocate to a new site in Ringswell Avenue and they have outline planning approval for this.

On the edge of Pinhoe, and in East Devon – 450 homes are under construction at Old Park Farm, with first occupation in the summer of 2013 and completion of this phase looking likely in 2016. This developer has approval for a further 250 homes. On the opposite side of Pinhoe Road developers have approval for a further 350 homes, although this is subject to them improving a junction in the centre of Pinhoe. Buildings have already been demolished to allow for road widening but at the start of 2016 work has yet to commence.