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21/1564/OUT | Outline planning application with all matters considered in detail except landscaping, for the demolition of the existing buildings and construction of mixed-use development comprising Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (Sui Generis) and Co-Living (Sui Generis) with associated infrastructure. (Further revised plans received Jan 2023) | Former Police Station And Magistrates Court Heavitree Road Exeter Devon EX1 2LR
  • Total Consulted: 582
  • Comments Received: 120
  • Objections: 118
  • Supporting: 0

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Lewis (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Mon 27 Feb 2023

objection recieved via eamil 15/02/23 14:55
This application must be refused. It has ZERO support. The plans can be revised and revised,they will be fully objected to until it's social housing only. If it's student housing then people will object to it! There is already ridiculous amounts of student housing and a shortage of afford social housing.

This can not be allowed to continue.

Ms June Backway (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Fri 10 Feb 2023

Comment submitted date: Fri 10 Feb 2023

Email 9 February 2023
I wish to withdraw my views from this meeting, and my comments not referred to.

Comment submitted date: Fri 01 Jul 2022

Totally against more student accommodation being built. Exeter has been spoiled with all these ugly blocks. But of course it will go ahead no doubt.

On 30/06/2022 11:19, wrote:
Please see letter attached
See our privacy notice for details on how we manage personal information.

Comment submitted date: Wed 24 Nov 2021

I have just recently moved into my new home (Eaton House, Heavitree Road) and found your letter regarding the above proposal addressed to the occupier. With delays in online connections etc., I am only now able to respond, and hope my views will be taken into account.
I am strongly against more student accommodation being built in Exeter. There are so many of these extremely ugly buildings now, which have spoilt the city and surrounding areas. So I do hope this application will be refused.
When there is such a great need for housing it is unbelievable that so many of these eyesores have been built !!
June Backway

Mr James McClune (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Mon 06 Feb 2023

See Documents

Comment submitted date: Mon 08 Nov 2021

Email objection - James McClune 05/11/21
See documents for full text of representation
Revised Plans - Further objection via email - 14/02/22

"Thanks for this, Mike.
From what I can discern the revised drawings are merely a tidying up of what has gone before to correct errors and provide missing details, to get the submission in the state it should have been first time round.
For example the co-living amenity space [drg. D0099 I2] has been detailed out with what appears to be a series of committee rooms and desk areas - not much to set the blood racing in terms of social interaction for young adults there!
The fundamental issue - the fact that it is an eight-storey proposal, whereas to comply with Exeter planning policies it should be a maximum of four storeys on this site - remains, therefore my objection stands. If Buckerell Lodge can be rejected on the grounds of over development, you surely have absolutely no option but to do the same here?
I was concerned to read Owen Cambridge's report [14/01/2022 1410z] where he states 'the overall height and mass of the proposed structures has been significantly reduced in response to pre application advice'.
If eight storeys is a 'significantly reduced' scheme, one dreads to think what exactly their original ambitions were?
Owen's report has been very carefully worded such that it has the properties of Blondin on a tightrope over Niagra Falls. He says the proposal would harm the setting of St Lukes but at the same time the local listing is powerless to influence it. Is this not a case for the emergency statutory listing of at least the front range of St Lukes, if not even a group listing of the whole main quadrangle, including the Giraffe house?
Incidentally when is Exeter going to have a Conservation Officer again, in lieu of a 'Principal Project Manager (Heritage)'? My respect for Owen's skills and experience is not in doubt, but his first love is archaeology (you can tell he is itching to set up a dig on the site) rather than building conservation and he appears to be seriously overloaded (hence the need for a chaser for his response).
Finally, I would be interested to know what the policy is if any of the residents were to have a baby (a not inconceivable eventuality)? The Co-living management plan does not mention it. Would the mother and child be unceremoniously chucked out in a kind of 'Cathy come home' manner? This was raised (I think by Councillor Henson) at the Harlequins co-living scheme committee meeting but the silence on the issue at the time was deafening and there was no resolution to discuss it at a later date.
Kind regards
James McClune"

Miss Josephine Nott (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 02 Feb 2023

- I continue to object to this proposed build.

- I live in St Matthews Close, in the 3 storey blocks of flats to the rear of the proposed site. Planners considering this application may want to stand in the Close and imagine the immense scale and height of the built proposed, and how this grossly over-sized build will overshadow our current living space. I would suggest standing in Cheeke St and Belgrave Rd, the student blocks built by the new Leisure Centre in town, to appreciate the scale. These are 8 storey buildings. I assume you wouldn't object to a block like these next to your home? To be honest I cannot see that any of the concerns re height of the build have been listened to at all. What real changes have been made? There are 8 floors still. I am honestly still aghast that planners think this scale and height acceptable.

- This area is already densely populated and feels overcrowded. Adding a large number of new inhabitants and a monstrously huge building will only increase this and with a negative effect. I will also raise that there is already a significant student population in this area. To increase their numbers further, doesn't serve to increase the relationship between local residents and students. I do not want to live in a student village. I want to live in a neighbourhood.

- I will ask why, when the University main campus has such extensive grounds, that large/future builds cannot happen on the main site? Why the need is felt to literally 'cram' 1000 people into a disproportionately small site. Students can still easily walk/bus to town, to other campuses from the main site. When you walk towards Sidwell St, St James, by the new Leisure Centre, and soon Newtown (old ambulance site) you are overwhelmed by students.

- It is not clear re parking. I am aware that you are only providing very few/just disabled parking. However you do not say if the new residents/students can apply to have C zone permits/other zones. You may want to promote reduced reliance on cars in Exeter, but the bus service is inadequate to support this currently. I have seen the extensive issues with parking in Culverland Rd and Portland St, areas where there are a lot of students, many of whom, still choose to own cars. Again, the impact of so many people proposed to be accommodated on the new site, it is na´ve to think that this won't impact negatively on local residents and an already crowded locality.

- I am not opposed to further social housing. However i would suggest that any build be only 3-4 storey high, to be in-keeping to the local area, and not feel like a metropolis. And that it is realistic in new residents having vehicles and needing new parking provision as part of the site. And that trees, greenery and space are key to a pleasant feeling of a living space and peoples wellbeing. We have an opportunity to build with this in mind. I feel it is particularly important to maintain green space in the city centre. It gives a much more pleasant feel.

Comment submitted date: Tue 09 Nov 2021

Objection via email - Josephine Nott 13/11/21

See documents for full text of objection.

I am writing as a local resident to object to the proposed planning application:

- This building does not fit aesthetically with the local area. The design is far too large.
- The appearance of the building is extremely unattractive.
- It is being built to the very edge of the boundary and roadside, increasing the impact of its size and effect on neighbouring houses.
- There is a loss of the existing greenery, grass verge and trees and none to replace them, particularly on the outside of the site.
- It is far too tall, at 7 Levels it will be extremely imposing. For comparison, the building I live in is 3 stories. My flat is on the ground floor nearest to the development.
- It will significantly affect the light available to properties around it and hence the feel of the immediate area. I own a flat in St Matthews Close and the height of the building will block a lot of the daytime sunlight out, actually from mid-morning until late afternoon. This is a significant part of the day. We don't have a right to light, but i would have thought it more thoughtful to build something to the same height as the buildings around it.
- Student accommodation on this scale does affect how local people feel towards students and the University. The University is part of the identity of the city, but to introduce such large, concentrated accommodation in more residential areas, will have a negative effect. It has been more acceptable in the city centre, but even now, is beginning to dominate the city centre to its detriment.
- There is no parking for the proposed site. Although it is suggested that students and co-living residents will be informed of this, i do not think that it is realistic to believe that nearly 1000 people will be fully compliant.
- The Transport Assessment remarks that there is only a 52% take-up of residents permits in the local area/C zone. This may be so, but there are not the full number of parking spaces for them all. It is very difficult to park in the local area as a permit holder. ie Even if there was 100% take-up of residents permits, there is certainly not the provision for that many spaces to park in the local area. So I sincerely hope that DCC would not allow residents permits to be granted to these residents.
- In summary the proposal saddens me in many ways, to think that this could be a reality in Exeter is a real shame. When i travel I am often admiring of European cities and their architecture. I do not feel the same about my home city and that's really disappointing.

Mrs Joan Wilkinson (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 31 Jan 2023

With respect to the planning proposal for developing the police and court site Heavitree Road. Application number:21/1564/OUT
Dear Sir,
Whilst I am quite aware that new affordable housing needs to be created in Exeter and that the Heavitree road site needs to be developed going forward, I am still not happy with the revised plans for many reasons.
My main objections are still with the size and scale of the proposed development and especially with the proposed 8 story block.
An eight story building in this locality would be wholly out of proportion to the surrounding architecture and placing the 8 story block behind 6 and 4 story blocks does not make it more acceptable. 6 stories should be the absolute maximum height in this location.
I am still disappointed with the size and layout of the co-living rooms...small rooms ranged along long corridors is the most unimaginative way to cram as many young adults into a small a space as possible. In every respect financial return has been put before quality of life.
If these plans are approved the council would have settled for the lowest common denominator in every respect, which includes the still inadequate amount of outside space being created on site.
(large sums being paid to enhance other green arears in the city is a distraction and nothing but a shabby 'sweetner')
We should be aspirational and mindful of the legacy we are creating.
I oppose the proposed amended plans as they stand.

Yours sincerely
Joan Wilkinson
Further objections and comments in response to the planning document section which began :- 'With respect to Policy DG1, the development is considered to comply with parts:
- a) -
- b) I disagree. The character of this approach part of Exeter is leafy residential with moderate height and density.
- c) By its own admission the courtyard areas being proposed are inadequate for the number of residence. Being swayed by compensation money paid to enhance other parks /green areas in the city would, in my opinion, show a derogation of duty to provide homes in which residents feel at ease and which make a positive contribution to their wellbeing.
- d) This area already has a high density of student/ young people and the introduction of over 1000+ more on this one small site will over stretch the provisions and amenities in the area.
- e) This area is primarily a residential area which already has a high density of student/ young people and is not in need of more vitality! Indeed, the density and numbers of the proposed development will overstretch local provisions and amenities.
- f) The proposed 6 and 8 story sections of the building do not relate to the surrounding landscape. The width of Heavitree road at this point, with its open green and leafy vista, is a benefit to the character of the approach to city centre. Also bringing the building line forward to near proximity with the pavements completely changes the expansive nature of this approach to its detriment. The reduction of the height of these frontal blocks to 4 stories will do little to change the overbearing effect.
- g) the volume and shape (the massing) of structures relate well to the character and appearance of the adjoining buildings and the surrounding townscape. I can really see no evidence of this on the ground and would wonder if planners had visited the site and location at all!
- h)The footprint, height and scale are not acceptable for this location.
- i) the types of materials will relate well to the palette of materials in the locality (no comment)

Ms Lowenna Faull (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 31 Jan 2023

Email 7 October 2022
Dear Matthew, please see below. I would be grateful if these could be circulated to whoever is appropriate - Kind Regards - Lowenna Faull

1. The existing site setting on the North side of Honiton Road is characterised by mature landscape planting, pleasant trees and tree belts and deep garden space in front of the plots along that side of the road. This proposal removes all trees and removes 'soft' landscaping and will change the character of the site to a 'hard' landscape with immature tree specimens
2. The tree report comments on the condition of the trees. Does the Council Tree Officer concur with the assessment?
3. Regardless of the tree report the development proposal cuts down every single mature tree even if they are denoted as healthy specimens!
4. The sight lines are not represented correctly in my view in the design and access statement. They do not consider the sight lines from the public realm. If they drew these sightlines from the back of the existing pavement it would make it clear just how dramatically the site will be changed. What has been drawn is misleading.
5. The existing site development steps up from one/two storey closer to Honiton Road to perhaps 4 storey deeper into the site. The proposal places 6 storey development much closer to the public realm and changes the character totally.
6. Students attending St Lukes already overload the pavement capacity coming in large groups out from their student accommodation at the top of the hill. This will only get significantly worse with this development with implications for safety of students and the general public using the pavement.
7. The scale of the proposal is grossly over the top for the site and the general character of the city at this location

Comment submitted date: Wed 27 Oct 2021

I would like to lodge my objection with the following issues.

The gigantic structure doesn't fit with the urban street character of this stretch of road - there are historic buildings along this gateway to Heavitree which will be dwarfed by such a monolithic structure.
The 'massing' of this building will feel oppressive to pedestrians as the proposal builds right to the pavement.
The area of green which is home to a significant number of mature trees will be destroyed.
The tiny rooms available to students will be mainly empty during holidays and have the potential to be 'flats or slums for the future when students refuse to live in such inadequate sized rooms.
There has been no intelligent or sensitive thought from the developer around how this structure adds to the 'architectural heritage' of Exeter and Heavitree.
ECC's own heritage officer wrote-
The height and massing as described, coupled with the topography will inevitably have a negative effect upon the character of the adjacent conservation areas, and the setting of listed buildings and undesignated heritage assets. The severity of the visual impact cannot be adequately assessed from the supplied information, but it is likely to be borderline substantial and would need significant justification under local and national policy guidance.
This building is not providing housing for residents of Exeter or even good quality accommodation for students, it is an application based on a financial opportunity to make quick money from poorly thought through temporary accommodation.

Mr Rob Wilkinson (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Mon 30 Jan 2023

I wish to strongly object to the latest proposals.
The proposed buildings are not in keeping with the surrounding area. They are:
1. Far too high
2. Far too large in overall size
3. Situate too close to the roads

The courtyards are too small for a property of this size.

The buildings have inadequate facilities for the residents.

No parking provision or indeed charging points for electric cars is provided. Surely some, if not many, of the occupiers will need such facilities.

Affordable housing of reasonable size is needed in Exeter, not more cramped accomodation for adults and/or students.

Comment submitted date: Mon 14 Feb 2022

Although some minor amendments and improvements have been made to the original application my original comments objecting to the application still stand.

Comment submitted date: Wed 10 Nov 2021

I strongly object to these plans for several reasons.

The proposed buildings are excessively high and imposing for the location and would adversely dominate the local skyline. The skyline in this part of Exeter is generally low profile.

Their design is unimaginative and it appears that no thought has been given to provide buildings that would in any way complement those of St Luke's College.

They would be far too close to the Heavitree Road thereby making the frontage out of line with immediately surrounding properties.

In no way can they be said to relate well to the character and appearance of the adjoining buildings and the surrounding townscape. Rather they would be detrimental to it.

Their erection would mean a loss of existing green spaces along with all but one of the existing mature trees.

The size of the rooms proposed is incredibly small and the amenities throughout are very limited for the number of occupants. Multi-storey buildings with inadequate amenities have a very poor history!

No car parking facilities or electric car charging points are proposed. It is surely fanciful to think that none of the occupants, or their visitors, would wish to have car parking facilities available. In any event, where will occupants, many of whom will arrive and depart over the same week or weekend, park when loading / unloading their belongings?
Additional parking permits would not be the solution as parking for residents with permits in the surrounding area is already difficult.

The proposed arrangements for the access to and storage of bicycles does little, if anything, to encourage the use of two-wheeled transport.

Some additional student accommodation could be considered appropriate but not on the proposed vast scale.

Mr Peter Child, Devon Buildings Group (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Fri 27 Jan 2023

The Devon Buildings Group objected to the original application for the development of this central site and were pleased to see that it was quite rightly rejected by your committee. These revised proposals merely tinker with the previous design which remains fundamentally the same as the original. The Devon Buildings Group therefore maintains its objection that the development is grossly overlarge for the site both in volume and height and that its design quality is too poor for such an important and prominent site. The Group strongly recommends its final refusal.

Mrs Sheila Ward (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 24 Jan 2023

I reaffirm my objection to this proposed development, for all the reasons previously stated; as many others have already commented, the so-called 'revisions' to this scheme do not address the concerns which have been raised very many times. I echo the sentiments of other objectors concerning the scale of the development, lack of action to the opinions expressed and the apparent disregard by the developer of the effect on local amenities and residents of another over-populated monolith. The developer is, as another objector suggests, merely tinkering with plans in order to get the application back to another Planning Committee. Please restore our faith in the system by ensuring this scheme is not approved and concentrate instead on encouraging affordable homes - not tower blocks - for local residents.

Comment submitted date: Sun 13 Feb 2022

I emphasise all my previous comments, and those of others, objecting to this scheme. The revised plans confirm the development is still entirely out of all proportion with surrounding buildings in terms of size and estimated number of occupants. The documents describe the 'residential use' of the next door development without confirming the over bearing new building and similar high occupancy on the what was the old ambulance station. I walk to work past this building site, where fleets of concrete lorries wait with their loads, and shudder to think of a similar development at the old Police Station. An opportunity to develop two sites owned by Public organisations was sadly missed; please do not allow another privately funded monolith to dominate the Exeter skyline but instead think about the needs of Exeter residents and encourage a plan for mixed housing. Tinkering with the landscaping and access points is not revising the plans; reviewing the sheer number of single occupancy rooms already available in the city, looking at other housing needs, and challenging political expediency would be what I would ask our elected Planners to do.

Comment submitted date: Sun 14 Nov 2021

I echo all of the comments of those who are objecting to this application; in particular I have concerns about:
- Change of use to student accommodation, albeit with some co-living aimed at the same age group;
- Over development of the site and height of the proposed buildings
- Negative, detrimental environmental impact including lack of clarity regarding mature trees
- Another precedent for approving future overbearing high rise buildings within the city boundary
- Detrimental effect on the amenities and quality of life to nearby residents and those who work in the area

I urge the Planning Committee to ensure they are informed of the number of purpose built student accommodation blocks (actual and planned) across the city, together with their current occupancy and usage (pre-Covid-19). Given the University of Exeter's own plans to expand its student accommodation, is this private scheme really to be prioritised over other types of housing for Exeter Citizens? Is this really government policy? The Council should publish the figures alongside any applications for projects such as this; is the developer at all concerned about the quality of life for the residents of the build, or its neighbours?

There was a significant missed opportunity to develop this site alongside the old ambulance station. Let's hope the Planning Committee feel strongly enough to support an alternative scheme to provide some mixed affordable family housing.

Mr John Wooding (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 24 Jan 2023

Email 24 January 2023
Hello Mr Diamond . I am writing to make my objections known to Exeter City Council regarding the old police station site in Heavitree Road. The planned building is out of caricature with the college buildings across the road and the residendial housing in the area . The propossed buliding has no parking availble to the students that will live there which will place extra strain on the residents in Exeter who are finding parking difficult enough without an extra 1000 students , the Councils argument for allowing all these Student flats to be built is that this will free up residential areas but this is not hapening, more and more residential houses are being turned into HMOs because they undercut the rent cost ,which in turn places more strain on Exeters residential parking. Where are these extra 1000 Students going to see a doctor or a dentist where are they going get their prescriptions , where do they park their cars? Our services cannot handle the amount of people now living in and around Exeter !
Our roads in the Exeter area are in such a bad state of repair and you are encouraging people to use push bikes , the pot holes are dangerous enough for vehicles let alone motor and push bikes. I look forward to your response . John Wooding

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