Explaining the Exeter Plan


Work continues on the Exeter Plan – the blueprint for the future of the city. We now have a Full Draft Plan to share with our communities, businesses and stakeholders. For the first time, this document brings together our key objectives, a full set of planning policies and proposed development areas for comment. 

This Full Draft Plan includes the planning policies we need to deliver our key priorities:

  • A prosperous local economy;
  • A healthy and active city;
  • Housing and building great neighbourhoods and communities;
  • A net zero carbon city; and
  • Thriving culture and heritage.  

 It also sets out the six key, brownfield sites which will provide the majority of the high quality development we need in sustainable locations. Water Lane, a key flagship proposal alongside the canal, is a great example of how we can use the past to create great new places to live, work and spend our leisure time. Development opportunities like this provide great optimism for how the city will evolve in the coming years. 

I look forward once again to hearing from the communities in Exeter as we look forward to a bright future in the city. 

Councillor Phil Bialyk

Leader - Exeter City Council

Portrait of Councillor Phil Bialyk

Progressing the Exeter Plan

This consultation is the third opportunity for you to comment on the Exeter Plan.

We started work in 2020 and in the September of 2021 held a consultation on an ‘Issues’ document which launched the plan. In the autumn of 2022 we invited comments on an Outline Draft Plan which included a framework of policies and draft development sites. This autumn, for the first time, we are consulting on a Full Draft of the Exeter Plan. This provides a full set of proposed planning policies and more detailed information on our key, high quality, brownfield development sites which will be the vital building blocks for the future of Exeter. 

During our last consultation in the autumn of 2022 I was delighted with the level of interest from the city community. Nearly 1500 people, organisations and companies responded and more than 1000 people visited the exhibitions across the city. The interest shown has been vital in shaping this next version of the plan and so I thank you for getting involved. 

Over the coming months you have the opportunity to continue shaping the plan and the future of your city by taking part in our latest consultation. We will be reaching out to our communities in person and online to widen the interest in the plan and to provide the information you need to get involved. Your input really makes a difference and so we look forward to hearing your views on the evolution of our beautiful city. 

Councillor Emma Morse

Portfolio Holder, City Development – Exeter City Council

Portrait of Councillor Phil Bialyk

The Exeter Plan will shape the future of Exeter for the next twenty years and will be the basis for how the city continues to evolve and meet the needs of the community.

The Exeter Plan is the new name for the Local Plan. It will be the main planning policy document for Exeter, setting out where development should take place and providing the policies which will be used in making decisions on planning applications. Once adopted, it will replace the current planning policies in the Core Strategy and the Local Plan First Review.

The City Council started work on a new plan in 2020 and has been busy putting together the evidence needed to prepare the Exeter Plan. The plan was launched in autumn 2021 with an Issues consultation which explained the key issues for the plan to address and started to look at what the pattern of development in the city might look like in future. A further round of consultation was then held on an Outline Draft plan in late 2022, which presented a series of strategic planning policies and site allocations. We have used these two rounds of feedback to inform the current Full Draft Plan.

The Exeter Plan is continuing to take shape and the Full Draft is the second version of this plan. It meets Regulation 18 of national planning legislation. It builds on the framework included in the previous Outline Draft and  includes the vision for the city, a full set of planning policies to steer planning applications and potential development sites for a mixture of uses including housing and employment. It also includes a proposals map, which shows the extent of spatial designations and proposals contained within the Plan. 

The full draft plan includes a large number of policies covering different topics, together with site allocation policies. Where the policies are vital to the delivery of the spatial strategy, key development and infrastructure proposals and are associated with cross-boundary matters, the policies are identified as ‘strategic policies’. Where policies cover more detailed matters these are considered to be non-strategic. Neighbourhood Plans can also include non-strategic policies. The differentiation between strategic and non-strategic policies is a requirement of national planning policy. 

It should be noted that at this stage a viability appraisal has not been completed for the plan. This means that the content of the policies are subject to change to ensure development viability as is required by national planning policy.

We will hold this consultation between 23 October and 15 January 2024 and would like as many responses as possible. The responses will be used to inform a final draft document, which will be published for comment in 2024 before it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for Examination. A Planning Inspector will use a series of Examination discussions to decide whether the plan needs any changes and then if it can be adopted by the City Council. This is likely to take place in 2025.

Check out the following document that summarises the policies in the Exeter Plan

231030_Exeter Plan policy summary document.pdf
231030_Exeter Plan policy summary document.pdf

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