Royal Clarence Restoration

In October 2016, Exeter's most historic and beautiful hotel, the Royal St Clarence in the Cathedral Green, was destroyed in a devastating fire. Progress has been slow in developing plans for its restoration or redevelopment, but Exeter Civic Society are keenly interested in whatever happens. In September 2023 the planning application was approved, so hopefully building work will start soon.

BBC Radio Devon interviewed our Chairman Keith Lewis on 1st November 2016 about the possibility of salvaging our Blue Plaque to Franz Liszt which is on the front of the Royal Clarence Hotel. They are aware of the plaque and that we would like to retain it, but obviously this will depend on the demolition process and whether this can be done safely.


A tribute to our beautiful Royal Clarence Hotel, destroyed by fire Friday 28th October 2016

Pictures taken on the morning of Saturday 29th October 2016

Pictures taken on Wednesday 2nd November 2016

September 2023: An important milestone - but not without challenges

The Exeter Observer reported on 22 Sep 2023:

Royal Clarence Hotel rebuild finally granted planning permission.  Agreed developer contributions do not include planned education provision and may be significantly reduced after construction is complete.

Planning permission to rebuild the Royal Clarence Hotel as residential flats with ground floor commercial units has finally been granted nearly seven years after the hotel burnt down.

Exeter City Council approved the plans in October last year, but an extended 26 May deadline to sign a section 106 legal agreement requiring developer contributions to health, education and affordable housing elsewhere in the city was not met. Nor was another deadline of 14 July.

At a council meeting last night Labour councillor Emma Morse, who is responsible for development in Exeter, confirmed that the agreement the council signed with developer James Brent earlier this month did not include all the contributions stipulated by its planning committee last year.


As the hotel redevelopment plans do not include any affordable housing, a much larger sum of £2.175 million towards the provision of affordable housing elsewhere in Exeter was also included in the agreement.

However none of these sums will be finalised until three months after construction is complete, and will not become payable until all 23 planned residential units have been occupied.

They will then vary depending on final build costs and profit margins submitted to the council by the developer.

For the full article, see: