Exeter Civic Society

Exeter Civic Society

Bus Station Redevelopment

The city council has had aspirations to develop this site for many decades because it is under used and an eyesore. Most Exonians agree with this but it has been difficult to find a developer to undertake this work. In the autumn of 2017 the latest developers pulled out of the development, citing difficult trading conditions.

LATEST

The society held a public meeting on 3rd February 2018 with nearly 100 attendees, with councillor Bialyk of the city council answering questions from the public. There were representatives from the three other political parties on the council, as well as from the Exeter & District Bus Users Group.

Councillor Bialyk faced some difficult questioning from the public who were particularly concerned that a bigger and better bus station than is proposed should be provided, and that the council should consider refurbishment of the existing perfectly functional bus station. The council were also criticised about the facilities proposed in the new Leisure Centre, as well as the mounting costs. A fuller report can be found on the DevonLive website. And you can read more on our Latest page via the link to the right.

Recent Background

In 2013 the city council announced that they had entered into an agreement with developer The Crown Estate and their retail partners  to redevelop the whole site, including the replacement of some of the buildings in Paris Street and Sidwell Street. This was to be based on a set of Development Principles which was published in 2012, and was found acceptable by the society.

The city council proposed a new Leisure Centre (swimming pools and fitness suites) at the bottom of the site off the Paris Street roundabout which has a striking design. The developer proposed new shops, restaurants and a cinema, as well as some green space, but said they could not afford a new bus station, which they were expected to provide in return for developing the site – see Development Principles. This resulted in the City Council developing proposals for a new bus station. However, its design has proved controversial because it is smaller than the existing bus station, long distance coaches will not be able to use it, and there is less space for passengers.

The public have mixed views about the provision of the new Leisure Centre (St Sidwells Point), and that the cost of building it and a new bus station is expected to cost £40 million. The society shares the concern about the cost.

A controversial part of the proposals is the closure of Paris Street to traffic, and the diversion of traffic via York Road, King William Street and Longbrook Street. The closure was approved as part of the planning approval for the redevelopment, but many people considered the alternative route unsatisfactory, including the civic society. Upon the publication of public notices for the closure of the roads (by the city council) many people objected to the secretary of state. As of November 2017 the public notice requests are still pending. We presume the council wish to proceed with the closure if new developers can be found for the site.