The regeneration of Exeter city centre is moving forward with the progression of two interlinked proposals by planning and development consultants Montagu Evans.
- Working with longstanding client Stagecoach and Exeter City Council, Montagu Evans advised on the relocation of the company’s city centre bus depot to Matford Road, freeing up a 0.58 ha (1.43 acre) site next to the Crown Estate’s £70 million Princesshay extension proposals. The sale of the remainder of the city centre lease and subsequent long leasehold purchase of the new depot site enabled Stagecoach to secure its long term future in the town. The new development is one of the first in the country to combine a bus depot with park and ride facilities, housed in a state-of-the-art facility with sustainability principles forming an integral part of its design.
- Montagu Evans then identified Stagecoach’s former city centre site as a potential student housing location, introducing proposals for a 588 bed development with a mix of studios, clusters, duplex apartments and one bed units with communal areas and facilities. 2,230 sq m (24,000 sq ft) of retail space is planned for the ground floor level in line with the Council’s brief for retail and leisure-led regeneration in the city centre. Planning consent was secured in late 2016, with construction on site underway and expected to complete in time for the 2019 academic year. Montagu Evans also provided planning advice on the bids for the site to Stagecoach and to Exeter City Council, which owns the site freehold.
Montagu Evans was sole agent on both elements. Roger Sewell, Partner at Montagu Evans, said:
“Together, these plans have solved a number of the issues slowing city centre regeneration. Stagecoach has profitably secured its long term future in the city with new state-of-the art facilities and enhancing the park and ride provision in the city. The council, meanwhile, will shortly see developed new, purpose-built and well-connected student accommodation, easing current housing pressures in the city, bringing new vitality to the site from the retail and leisure uses and significantly cutting the number of vehicles coming into the centre.”
Colin Brown, Stagecoach UK Bus Finance Director, said:
"We were delighted to work in partnership with Montagu Evans and Exeter City Council on this project. It has made a significant contribution to the ongoing regeneration of Exeter city centre, delivered a new state-of-the-art bus depot and park and ride facility, safeguarded hundreds of local jobs, and helped create new housing which will help hundreds of young people at a key stage of their lives."
Craig McPhail, Partner and student accommodation specialist at Montagu Evans, added:
“The UK’s university cities are constantly having to balance the needs of student, residents and businesses and this was a proactive move to make the most of a site that would shortly become vacant with new uses directly in line with market requirements.”
Karime Hassan, Chief Executive & Growth Director of Exeter Council comments: “We are delighted to have worked with Stagecoach and their advisors to deliver the reprovision of the former city centre bus depot in to ground breaking new facilities at Matford. This has cleared the way to a new phase of city centre regeneration as Exeter goes from strength to strength.”