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Exeter Student Scheme Recommended for Approval

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Exeter's council planning officers have backed plans for a student accommodation development that would result in the demolition of a shopping arcade in the city's independent shopping quarter.

The applicant Lagoon Estates is looking to build 55 high quality student studios over four floors on the site of the City Arcade, in Fore Street.

While a retail unit would be retained on the ground floor it would be much smaller than the current site, dropping from 568 sq metres to just 80 sq metres.

Originally the plans had been for the development to consist of five storeys, however the scheme was reduced to four following objections from residents, traders and Historic England.

Commenting on the application, planning officers said: "The continued commercial presence fronting Fore Street will ensure the vitality and viability of the area is retained. The principle of student use in this city centre location is appropriate and will comply with development plan policies."

"While a number of objections have raised concern regarding the need for additional purpose-built student accommodation in the city, the University's plans for growth means that significantly more additional bedrooms will still be needed and therefore opportunities for new purpose-built accommodation should be welcomed on appropriate sites."

"The site is well served by public transport and its city centre location would comply with the objectives of the development plan. Indeed it could be argued that accommodating more students throughout the city would relieve the pressure for purpose-built student accommodation within the residential areas closer to the University, such as St James."

With planning officers backing the scheme it has been recommended for approval when Exeter City Council's planning committee meet later this month.