ECS Sends Response to Clarendon House Consultation to Developer

After discussion amongst members at the December Open Meeting, members worked together to provide the developer of the Clarendon House site with a response to their very early stage development plans. Our main concerns are more student housing in this area and a 16 storey tower building. We very much think there must be a Master Plan or at the very least a Design Code developed by Exeter City Council before any of the new buildings for the Eastgate Redevelopment should go ahead.

The Society’s members have many concerns about the proliferation of student accommodation in the centre of Exeter and the lack of developments for affordable homes. The area close to Paris Street roundabout has seen many student blocks being built.  We would like to see city centre sites developed for family homes to help address the shortage of such accommodation across the city, especially accommodation that is affordable. We recognise that this site is affected with noise from traffic on Paris Street roundabout, but we consider that this could be managed, and amenity and social space could be provided facing towards Bailey Street.

We believe the developer’s argument for a 16 storey building here as ‘justified because it will not be higher than the John Lewis building’ is extremely flawed. We believe that any building on this site should relate to the buildings in the immediate area, including the Leonardo Hotel, Vue Cinema, St Sidwells Point, and the Centre Living student accommodation. A new building on the Clarendon House site just 1-2 floors higher than the existing buildings may be acceptable if well designed.

In considering the redevelopment of the whole of the Eastgate area, we would like to see a Design Code developed for the area which will consider the needs and design of the whole area, including existing residents in neighbouring areas, before any major development proposals are brought forward. It is our expectation that future development will require traffic currently using Paris Street to be diverted away from the city centre (as the Crown Estates development proposed for the former bus station), which will significantly impact the flow of traffic on Paris Street roundabout. Should this roundabout be significantly redesigned to provide a traffic light controlled junction, and the roundabout area re-purposed as a community space?

Our response can be read in full under: https://exetercivicsociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/ECS-response-to-Clarendon-House-consultation-2023.pdf