Exeter Homes Trust Unveils Plans for Remodelling of Historic Almshouses

Exeter Homes Trust Unveils Plans for Remodelling of Historic Almshouses

Exeter Homes Trust has unveiled plans for improvement work to the historic Atwill Palmer Almshouses, in Exeter’s New North Road

The 3 180-year-old Victorian buildings contain 24 one-bedroom apartments, arranged over 2 floors. The remodelling work will provide residents with updated and energy efficient apartments, more suited to modern day living requirements

Last week, the Trust welcomed Atwill Palmer residents and neighbours to its offices in Southernhay to find out more about the proposed redevelopment. Architect Russ Palmer, together with Exeter Homes Trust Chairman Alan Williamson, presented the detailed planning proposals and invited the interested parties to ask questions and share their views. This follows a year of thorough consultation, with planners and the Heritage Office at Exeter City Council, to agree the sympathetic remodelling of the Grade II listed buildings.

The proposed plans include demolishing the flat-roofed 1960s one-storey additions at the rear and replacing them with more energy efficient two-floor extensions, with pitched roofs.

The proposed work also includes the construction of new single storey sections to the rear, in-between the double height extensions, with patio doors opening on to landscaped terraces and gardens. The new structures will include double-glazing, better insulation and matching rendering.

The remodelled Almshouses will enjoy modern energy efficiency measures, under floor heating, new kitchens and the creation of modern shower-rooms, ensuites and utility rooms. The apartments will also benefit from new wiring and redecoration throughout, with extensions making the properties larger and more functional in design.

The outside areas are also set to get a new lease of life, with enhanced landscaping providing new terraces and flowerbeds, and the creation of a community room for residents to meet up and socialise.

The proposed programme of work at Atwill Palmer is expected to take 24 months, during which time, residents will be offered alternative accommodation within Exeter Homes Trust’s stock of homes.

The proposed scheme will be part funded by Homes England grant and the next step, for the project, is for the statutory planning application to be submitted to Exeter City Council.

Alan Williamson, Chairman of the Charity’s Directors board, comments:

“The apartments require updating to make them more user friendly as, in their current state, they do not meet contemporary living standards.

“With buildings of such historical importance, the main objective is to retain the distinctive character while upgrading the apartments to make them more modern and energy efficient. Russ Palmer’s design represents a sympathetic modernisation of the apartments that both respects the buildings’ past, but also delivers more practical and ergonomic accommodation for the future.”

The proposed project at Atwill Palmer follows the recent announcement to redevelop the Trust’s Fairpark site in St Leonards. Last year the historic Magdalen Cottages recently underwent a programme of remodelling, to update them to a more contemporary standard, and five years ago the charity’s Culverland Road site was redeveloped to provide 24 new apartments. All developments have benefited from HCA (now Homes England) grant funding.

Alan Williamson explains why it is important for Exeter Homes Trust to constantly improve the accommodation they supply and move with the times:

“We are committed to providing accommodation for our residents of the very best standard. We are, therefore, continually re-evaluating our buildings and budgets in order to identify any improvements that could be made to future proof the accommodation, making it as sustainable and comfortable as possible.”

Exeter Homes Trust, formerly known as The Exeter Municipal Charity, was founded over 900 years ago. Providing housing for people, who are unable to remain in their own homes by reason of failing health or reduced circumstances, the Charity owns and manages 149 properties in the city. A board of 12 directors governs Exeter Homes Trust.

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