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350 Student Beds Planned for Exeter

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The former Johnsons Cleaners on Cowley Bridge Road in Exeter, which was destroyed by a fire in January 2020 and subsequently demolished, may be replaced with purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA).

The proposal, recently submitted to Exeter City Council, outlines a plan for a development featuring 350 beds, consisting of 151 studios and 199 cluster bedrooms spread across five blocks, ranging from three to six storeys high.

The site is located adjacent to the railway line, and a statement submitted with the application notes that the location is in close proximity to the University of Exeter, with student accommodation and university buildings located nearby.

The proposal seeks to redevelop a vacant brownfield site following the fire, and the application statement claims that the development would offer highly sustainable student accommodation in a suitable location close to the university and city centre. The proposal also suggests the creation of a 3-metre-wide footway along the site frontage to improve the pedestrian experience and the incorporation of co-bikes for community use and to encourage cycling.

Although the council has recently approved an application to convert a vacant office block into student flats, all 12 public comments received thus far on the Cowley Bridge Road proposal are in objection.

In February, the council's planning committee rejected major plans for student and co-living blocks at the former Heavitree Road police station, citing concerns over the scale and impact of the development.

The Cowley Bridge Road plan is likely to be considered later in the year.


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