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Councillors recommend two key sites in Exeter should become new homes

Published: 1 December 2023

Councillors recommend two key sites in Exeter should become new homes Mary Arches car park

Two prominent sites in Exeter will be brought forward for much-needed new housing, councillors have recommended.

Members of the Executive have recommended the sale of land at the multi-storey car park at Mary Arches for co-living use and the surface car park for residential use.

They also recommended the sale of land at Clifton Hill for use as residential homes, while retaining the existing open space, golf driving range and dry ski slope.

Councillors ruled out any purpose-built student accommodation on either site.

The two sites were originally earmarked for housing through the Council-owned development company Exeter City Living.

The functions of the company were would down as its activities became no longer financially viable, and the two sites will now be prepared for sale to recover the value of the Council’s loan to ECL.

In a report to Executive, officers said the highest value for sale would be generated through selling the sites without any restrictions on their future use.

But the Executive has recommended to Council that restrictions should apply to the sale, and that purpose built student accommodation should not be allowed, in line with Council policy on the use of land it owns.

Council Leader Phil Bialyk said: “Our officers have the role of securing the best deal possible for the Council. But notwithstanding the advice from officers, I have to weigh up all the considerations to ensure we get the best deal for our communities. The people of Exeter need new homes, so we will bring these sites forward for new homes.

“Mary Arches is right in the city centre, it is sustainable and it is a great location to create new homes for the people of Exeter.

“At Clifton Hill I made an undertaking four years ago to say that we were going to preserve the green space behind the leisure centre and that we weren’t going to propose any development on the golf range site or the ski slope.

“The best return for the people of Exeter is to keep these existing facilities and keep the open green space but to build on the site that already has planning permission to build new homes. I will stress again that it will not be purpose built student accommodation – it will be homes for the people of Exeter.”

Council will discuss the recommendations at a meeting on 12 December.

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