Exeter Civic Society

Exeter Civic Society

Bonhay Meadow


On this page you can find information about Exeter City Council’s proposals to build residential accommodation on this site. The Council has obtained Government funding to investigate development on the basis of the site being a brown-field site (previously built on).

Our chairman believes this is a green-field site and that the Council has obtained the Government funding under false pretences because it has not previously been built on. Below are documents which have been obtained under the Freedom of Information Act relating to communications between Exeter City Living (which is Exeter City Council’s wholly owned development company) and statutory organisations who they communicated with about developing this site.

The Council’s Executive Committee approved a masterplan for the Riverside & Ludwell Valley Parks on 9th February 2016. This embraces the Ludwell Valley area and the riverside from Cowley Bridge to the A379 in the south. The masterplan can be found here. This establishes ideas for the development of the riverside and its green spaces, and cites Bonhay Meadow as a pocket park for local people.

In addition to the masterplan, the council’s house building plan/initiative, Liveable Exeter, promotes the retention of green spaces along the riverside and states on it’s webpages: “But it’s not enough to just see green spaces and to know that they are there – it is important that our communities have a sense of ownership over these environments and must feel that they belong within them. They must understand their place within these spaces and should have a say on how they are used.” An extract from this website is attached below.

Extract from Liveable Exeter webpage https


Supporting Information

This group of documents relates to the council’s bid for Brown Land Release Funding (BLRF) – their bid and the government’s confirmation of funding.

ECC bid for BLRF Bonhay Meadows 01062021

ECC bid for BLRF Technical Annex 20.4 – Bonhay Meadows.2

Exeter City Council_BLRF Funding Letter_Redacted[88843]

Exeter City Council_Grant Funding Agreement


Below are the documents relating to communications between South West Water and Exeter City Living. SW Water has a large water attenuation tank in the middle part of the site which cannot be built on. It appears that they have a lease from the city council for this essential piece of infrastructure.

Bonhay Meadows Email extracts between SECL, SWW, SE3Design, QSPM Consultants 2020

Bonhay Meadows SWW Attenuation Tank Extract from Deed_Redacted

Exeter City Living has also had discussions with the council’s Public & Green Spaces team. Below is an email exchange and notes of a presentation to the Green Space team.

Bonhay Meadow Email extracts between ECC Public & Green Spaces manager and ECL 12032021

ECL ECC Public_Green Spaces meeting Bonhay Meadows 21Oct2021_Notes_Redacted

Below are plans and pictures of the site. The outline plan of the site shown on the city council plan suggests that the land closest to the river is probably controlled by the Environment Agency as part of the protected flood relief scheme. The document with the Bonhay Meadows maps shows a 1905 map and a 2022 map; this shows that most of the proposed development site was formerly the Bonhays Pleasure Grounds (greenfield land) rather than the former cattle market (until 1939 – previously developed land). Some pictures of the site are now included which shows the proximity of mature trees to the proposed buildings.

Bonhay Meadows Maps