Major Redevelopment In Exeter City Centre Commences

Major Redevelopment In Exeter City Centre Commences

Written by Sofy Robertson

Photography by Sofy Robertson

Work has commenced on a major city centre redevelopment which will see a new leisure complex and bus station created in the heart of Exeter.

The redevelopment of the existing bus station is being funded by Exeter City Council and will be built by major construction company, Kier. Work is now underway on the site with all necessary contracts signed.

St Sidwell’s Point, the state-of-the-art, Passivhaus leisure complex and the new Exeter Bus Station are expected to be completed in approximately two years.

The formal ground breaking ceremony took place today to mark the beginning of the development.

Council leader Pete Edwards explained:

“It has been a long road to get to this point and I am delighted that work has now started on site. Everyone knows that the existing bus station needs replacing, and a brand new leisure centre and swimming pool is desperately needed for Exeter.

“This development is of the highest quality, and will set the tone for the wider redevelopment which is planned at the site.

“The council is making a major investment to provide much needed new facilities for the people of this city, while helping to ensure the long term viability of the city centre.

“Many city centres around the country are dying because of a lack of investment – we won’t let that happen in Exeter. This city will continue to thrive.” (Exeter City Council)

The existing bus station will remain open to passengers while its replacement is under construction.

The creation of St Sidwell’s Point and the new bus station is planned as the first phase of a wider redevelopment at the site which includes rejuvenation of Exeter’s Paris and Sidwell Streets.

The council unveiled its £300m vision for the wider site in December which includes housing, offices, restaurants and retail, along with the possibility of a new multi-use entertainment venue.

The vision, backed by business leaders in the city, includes:

  • The potential for a multi-purpose performance venue, with a capacity of around 1,200 seated or up to 2,500 standing
  • 250 housing units for sale on the current Civic Centre site, and 250 units of housing built to rent
  • A ten-storey, four star hotel with 175 rooms, and a budget hotel
  • Almost 40,000 sq ft of retail units fronting Sidwell Street
  • The potential to rehouse the relocated Civic Centre
  • A new Office Quarter, with units over eight storeys  
  • More than 15,000 sq ft of food and drink outlets 
  • Flexible working space alongside the leisure centre
  • Public realm enhancements – a new square in Paris Street and new civic space  

St Sidwell’s Point is intended to replace Exeter’s aging Pyramids swimming pool and its state-of-the art Passivhaus design ensures its minimal environmental impact. The complex is expected to attract at least 500,000 visitors a year, twice that of the RAMM.

St Sidwell’s Point will be the first UK leisure centre built to super-efficient low energy Passivhaus standards, which is expected to eventually save up to 70% on annual energy costs.

The long-awaited new bus station will include a covered waiting area and boarding areas as well as high-quality facilities.

Councillors have approved a budget of £51.8m for the new leisure complex and new bus station.

The authority has saved and ring fenced £33.65m – income from new homes bonus, community  infrastructure levy (CIL), Section 106 agreements and capital receipts for the purpose of delivering the leisure complex and bus station.

The additional funding is being borrowed without negatively impacting on the medium term financial plan, and will not increase the council’s already identified saving requirements and commitments over the coming years.

The above will be achieved through income from the leisure centre operator and financial management measures which include restructuring council-wide repayments of debt.

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