This is our city, this is our future


This is our city, this is our future

The Exeter vision 2040 and Liveable Exeter

Exeter has an ambitious vision for the next 20 years which can be summarised in a single sentence:

‘By the time they are an adult, a child born in Exeter today will live in a city that is inclusive, healthy and sustainable - a city where the opportunities and benefits of prosperity are shared and all citizens are able to participate fully in the city’s economic, social, cultural and civic life.’

The City Council adopted this vision in 2019 following engagement with our key partners and stakeholders.

The Exeter Plan also looks ahead to 2040 so it makes sense to bring the vision and plan together. This means that the plan will help to achieve the vision.

Our vision talks about a future Exeter that supports collaboration; ensures every resident has a home that is secure, affordable and healthy; has a strong and growing economy; encourages healthy, active lifestyles; has world-class education and training; supports a vibrant city centre and inclusive and connected neighbourhoods; is carbon neutral by 2030 and; will be known nationally and internationally as a city of culture.

The vision has seven key outcomes:

  • An innovative and analytical city
  • A healthy and inclusive city
  • The most active city in the UK
  • Accessible world class education
  • A liveable and connected city
  • A leading sustainable city
  • A city of culture

The achievement of these outcomes drive the entire Exeter Plan. They map across to the key policies and development sites.

In 2019 the City Council launched Liveable Exeter. Liveable Exeter will help deliver the Exeter Vision 2040 and this plan. It is a bold initiative to build new homes in the city in high quality developments and transform previously developed land, strengthen existing communities and create new neighbourhoods. A series of Liveable Exeter principles will guide the largest developments to ensure they are of the highest quality. These principles are included in this plan. 

The City Council cannot deliver Exeter’s vision on its own. That is why the Liveable Exeter Place Board was created. Each organisation represented on the Place Board has endorsed the Exeter 2040 Vision.

The Place Board enables collaboration between the city’s anchor institutions, sub-regional partners and the Government in delivering Liveable Exeter. The Place Board acts as a critical friend, challenging partners to achieve the principles which underpin Liveable Exeter.

The Place Board has an independent Chair and does not take decisions.  Members engage communities and stakeholders to address the challenges in achieving the vision.

Delivering the vision

The Exeter 2040 vision will be delivered in different ways using a range of innovative tools including the Exeter Plan. However, there are other mechanisms which are being used to deliver high quality development in the city. 

In 2022, the City Council launched a related planning initiative, the Exeter Design Quality Partnership. This is aimed at improving the way sustainability and design quality is addressed in the city.

The partnership is between the City Council, landowners, funding institutions, promoters of development and developers and is framed by the Exeter Vision 2040 and Liveable Exeter. It is about raising the level of ambition in design and city-making in Exeter, through collaboration.

Although the planning system enables high quality development it is not designed to deliver everything Exeter needs to achieve its vision. Other City Council plans, including the refreshed Corporate Plan, and the strategies of key institutions and partners, will also play a vital role. This is shown at the start of each chapter of the Exeter Plan by an explanation of how the plan will support the City Council’s corporate priorities. 

The City Council is working closely with its delivery partners on other initiatives including:

  • The Net Zero Exeter 2030 Plan
  • The Cultural Compact and Exeter Cultural Strategy
  • Live and Move – the Sport England Local Delivery Pilot
  • The Creative Arc
  • Exeter City of Literature (UNESCO)
  • InExeter – Exeter’s Business Improvement District
  • Devon County Council plans including the Exeter Transport Strategy and new Local Transport Plan. 
  • Heart of the South West Local Industrial Strategy
  • Exeter Civic University agreement and the University 2030 Strategy
  • Exeter College Strategic Plan 2020 - 2025

Linked to these other strategies, the Exeter Plan will act as a focal point for discussions with the Government and its associated departments and agencies (such as Sport England, Homes England, Arts Council England, the Environment Agency, Natural England, National Highways, Historic England) to support the delivery of the Exeter 2040 vision. The plan will inform bids for external funding, including for housing, infrastructure, environmental schemes and other priorities as needed.

Looking at the wider area, the City Council is working with our partners at East Devon, Mid Devon and Teignbridge District Councils and Devon County Council to prepare a joint strategy for the wider area. This is not a formal planning document but will draw together the proposals in the individual Local Plans (including the Exeter Plan) to show the overall picture on key strategic topics affecting the area as a whole. 

As well as planning for change over the next 20 years through the Exeter Plan, development may come forward through innovative approaches using a variety of models. The City Council will work with partners to explore new delivery mechanisms to support high quality development and infrastructure delivery.

This engagement phase has finished

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