Exeter City Council Unveil Vision To Build 12,000 New Homes
All content by Sofy Robertson
Exeter City Council have announced their plans to create 12,000 new homes in Exeter over the next twenty years while maintaining and expanding the city’s green setting.
The document Liveable Exeter outlines plans for delivering a transformational housing programme in Exeter between 2020 and 2040. There is already a government target for 53,200 new homes over the same period in Greater Exeter.
The document highlights the huge demand for new housing in Exeter and is designed to inform the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan. A recent Centre for Cities Report revealed that Exeter was the sixth least affordable city in the country.
Next week, the council will meet to discuss Liveable Exeter, which highlights the transport challenges facing the city and highlights the need to create new communities based on active travel including walking or cycling. It calls for the retention and growth of the city’s green spaces and aims to allow people to move around in a natural and green setting.
The vision highlights the potential for eight projects across the city:
1: Red Cow Village (St David’s) – 664 homes in a new neighbourhood, including a new work space and use of the under-utilised station buildings in a highly accessible location.
2: Water Lane – 1,567 homes in a new place to live and work. A space for expanding leisure attractions near the quay, with low traffic or car-free development with attractive cycle and walking connections.
3: Marsh Barton – 5,544 homes in a new neighbourhood for Exeter. The area remains an important employment and retail area, but with the integration of living and working where uses are compatible, to make better use of riverside location. The development is aimed to link to the proposed train station. The creation of new types of work space, including light industrial, workshops, office and shared work space, is also proposed.
4: East Gate – 962 new homes with an enhanced approach to the city centre from the east, reduced traffic on Heavitree Road and a greater provision for public transport, walking and cycling. New places to live close to the city centre will exist alongside existing neighbourhoods.
5: West Gate – 617 new homes, opening up access to the river and canal from the city centre, creating a new cultural destination on the river, an expanded and connected park at the heart of the city and a Green Bridge promoting active travel across the river.
6: South Gate – 300 new homes, establishing an improved link between the city centre and the historic quayside, with a greater emphasis on the wall, city gates and Southernhay, linking from Southernhay to the Quay, and a new arrival to the city centre from Topsham Road.
7: North Gate – 308 new homes with a new approach to the city from St David’s, uncovering the medieval city wall between Friernhay and Northernhay Gardens; a new living opportunity at density in the heart of the city.
8: Sandy Gate – 1,050 new homes in a new sustainable and well-connected mixed-use neighbourhood, bridging the city and the new and existing neighbourhoods to the east, providing recreational, cultural and entertainment space where Exeter meets the newly formed Clyst Valley Park.
The vision document highlights how the housing programme can be the means to bring major investment into the city and renew its infrastructure with the aim of improving the lives and wellbeing of Exeter residents of the present and future. The document states:
“As Exeter grows it will be important to recognise and improve the qualities that make it liveable. The streets, spaces and parks that link neighbourhoods and the city centre need to be safe and attractive to use, encouraging people to be active, healthy and use cars less.
“Streets have become congested and have lost their historic qualities as new infrastructure has been introduced into historic streets. Green spaces and linear routes along valleys and watercourses do not always connect and provide a safe and healthy way of moving around the city.
“Land ownerships have become fragmented in key locations and some areas are in need of comprehensive renewal. Much could be done to improve the city for the people who live, visit and invest in it. There is a once in a generation opportunity to renew the structure of the city so that it can accommodate the sort of change and attract the investment it needs for its communities to prosper in the future.” (Exeter City Council)
Karime Hassan, the council’s Chief Executive and Growth Director, expressed his views in the accompanying vision document, saying:
“There is a national housing crisis, and this is reflected locally.
“Exeter has a number of challenges and congestion is one of the key challenges. As much as practical, the housing programme will seek to increase density of future housing and provide a range of uses that will make it possible, by design, to travel to facilities by foot and bicycle, and to address the built environment in such a way that an active lifestyle is possible.
“We will need to ensure we create a comprehensive and coherent permeable cycle and pedestrian network that connects key economic hubs to transport interchanges and residential areas.
“Emerging thinking from transport planners would aim for 50 per cent of trips within the city to be made on foot or by bike. This complements the city’s aspirations to encourage greater physical activity and become the country’s most active city.”
Exeter City Futures’ Programme Director Liz O’Driscoll commented on the Vision, saying:
“We are in full support of the exciting new Liveable Exeter Vision launched today – ideas for developments that could bring much needed affordable housing to the City whilst reducing the dominance of private cars. These bold ambitions are clearly aligned to the delivery of the Goals of Exeter City Futures and is testament to the exciting type of sustainable developments and projects that can flourish when we work together as a collaborative city with shared goals.”