Sofy Robertson | Feb 15, 2019 | 0
REACTION to Exeter City Council £300m Vision for City Centre Redevelopment
Earlier this week, Exeter City Council announced their £300m vision for the redevelopment of the City Centre. Plans include the possibility of a 2500-capacity multi-performance venue, additional housing, hotels, 40,000 sq ft of retail units, new restaurants and bars, flexible working space and the possible pedestrianisation of Paris Street.
With city centre planning and development being a historically contentious issue, we took to social media to gauge the reaction of Exonians to the plans. As a wise man once said, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. That said, I think it is fair to say that, although mixed, the response has had a strongly positive overtone, with many feeling like, should this vision be realised, it will be a firm foot forward for Exeter and a continuation of the city’s rise to prominence in the region and the country.
As for us at Grow HQ, we looked carefully at the plans and felt that they were well thought-through, really positive and a huge step forward for the city. Of course, the puzzle of a city cannot be solved overnight. Key stakeholders in the city will need to continue their hard work, visionary approach and connection to local residents and businesses to ensure that the plans move forward with real energy and momentum.
We asked some of those key stakeholders what they thought about the plans and felt even more sure that the cohesive and positive approach being applied will surely give the plans more chance of succeeding. Below are some of those comments.
Karime Hassan, Chief Executive and Growth Director of Exeter City Council said:
“The development concept provides a mix of uses that will complement the High Street, supporting both the daytime and night time economy, and responds to the demand for housing and offices within the city centre.
“This is a major and vital investment in a key site, adding almost a million square feet of additional development. Everyone knows the difficulties retail is facing. We need to ensure Exeter city centre is viable, sustainable and continues to thrive, and this investment is crucial for the city.”
Ann Hunter, InExeter Manager went on to say:
“We support these outline plans for this mixed-use scheme that brings together the full site into one holistic development supplying private
housing, flexible office space adding valuable employment opportunities, additional hotel capacity and public space for events and markets. These plans add momentum to Exeter’s growth and we look forward to being involved in the detail.”
Mark Pellow, Chair, Exeter Chamber of Commerce and Industry added:
“The Chamber supports the City Council in seeking to bring forward the regeneration of this high-profile city centre site, that is currently an eyesore. The intended mix of commercial, residential and leisure use with public realm works, should help support an active and vibrant city centre.”
Wayne Pearce, Princesshay Centre Director went on to say:
“We are pleased to see proposals come forward that will look to regenerate this key site in the city centre and help contribute to the continued success of Exeter and the surrounding area.”
Derek Phillips, Vice President of Exeter Chamber of Commerce proclaimed:
“We support this investment in the city centre and back the council’s plans to regenerate this tired and outdated site. This investment will help increase the viability of the city centre in uncertain times, and we very much welcome it.”
Andrew McNeilly, Centre Manager, Guildhall Shopping and Dining concluded:
“This new fit-for-purpose development will serve the needs of everyone who lives, works and visits the city including leisure, health and fitness, much-needed housing, office space, civic space, restaurants and retail. As key stakeholders in Exeter’s past, present and future we wholly support this development initiative, for the city.“
This vision has been announced shortly after the City Council birthed a new place-based brand for Exeter, Exeter Live Better. This narrative has been created with the intention of local residents and businesses starting to adopt it and for the city to have a consistent way of communicating what it means to live in Exeter. There is so much buzz around Exeter right now, that they wanted to capture that in a simple phrase which others could start using too. Adopting this narrative will give the city a more powerful voice regionally, nationally and internationally, attracting inward investment, tourism and professional talent to the city.
Grow are delighted to be official partners of Exeter Live Better and will continue to promote such a positive, beneficial narrative.
We look forward to seeing how the City Centre vision becomes a reality, helping to make Exeter a better place to live, work, play, study and realise our dreams; both individual and collective.