Our plans to build 74 new homes across two former school sites in Exwick have been approved.
Exeter City Councillors have given the go-ahead for us to build 43 homes on the old Exwick Middle School site in Higher Exwick Hill and a further 31 on the site of the former Foxhayes School in Gloucester Road.
Both sites will include a mixture of social rent and shared ownership homes.
Outline planning permission had already been granted for both sets of proposals before Exeter City Council’s planning committee backed our reserved matters application.
Having exchanged contacts to buy the sites, subject to planning from Devon County Council, we expect the purchase to be completed over the next three months.
We will then select a contractor to build the new homes and it is hoped construction will begin in Autumn.
The development will benefit from grant-funding from government housing agency Homes England, through our joint strategic partnership with Sovereign.
Homes England has formed strategic partnerships with a number of housing associations to provide the investment, flexibility and resources needed to increase the supply of affordable homes.
Our New Business Manager, Adam Preece, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received permission to develop these two sites, which have stood vacant for many years.
“With the benefit of grant support from Homes England, we will be able to deliver them as 100% affordable housing, with both rented and home ownership options, to continue to meet our commitment to providing safe and secure homes in Exeter, and across the South West.
“The contract for construction of both sites is currently out to tender and we are expecting bids to be back with us in mid-July.
“Given the nature of these sites, bidders will be judged as much on their ability to work safely and considerately in the Exwick community as on the price they offer to complete the works for.”
The two former school sites became surplus to requirements when the nearby Exwick Heights Primary School opened in 2008.
As part of a commitment to protecting the environment, the developments will benefit from dedicated ecology areas, bird nesting boxes and the retention of mature trees on site.
The development is focused on retaining much of the natural environment and we have also pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 10%.
Adam Preece added: “The sites are steeply sloping and benefit from fantastic views and a mature natural environment. Our approach has been to work with those aspects to create new compact communities nestled in nature.
“We have some fantastic mature trees to work with and will dedicate ecology areas on each site to create protected spaces for the wildlife that we know visits these sites.
“Because we will remain the freeholder and manager of the completed developments, we have the opportunity to manage and maintain this environment for future generations.
“Each site creates new pedestrian and cycle routes that we hope will simplify moving around Exwick and reduce reliance on cars. The use of photovoltaic panels and provision of electric car charging points will reduce our carbon footprint further.”