Published: Thursday, 7th July 2016
Plans for the 17,000 square metre Moor Exchange development have been refused by the Secretary of State, largely because of its impact on Exeter’s city centre...
Proposals for a new district shopping centre at an out-of-centre location near Sowton off Exeter's Honiton Road on the outskirts of the city have been rejected by Communities Secretary Greg Clark.
Developer CPG’s Moor Exchange scheme involved some 17,000 square metres of retail floor space and included a garden centre and drive-through restaurants. One retail unit was potentially 5,800 square metres in size.
The city council had refused the project largely on the grounds of its impact on the city centre. Both the inspector who held the recovered appeal and the SoS noted that Exeter’s bus and coach station site (BCS) which is currently earmarked for development was highly accessible and well connected to the city centre and was “sequentially preferable, suitable and available”.
Clark’s decision letter said that although the 3.2-hectare appeal site was generally well-located for public transport it was in a “less accessible location than the sequentially preferable BCS site. The appeal scheme would include a large new car park and ‘drive-through’ restaurants which would be likely to encourage rather than deter the use of the private car”.
He concluded that the benefits of the scheme did not outweigh the conflict with the development plan and the environmental harm. The proposals also failed the town centre first sequential test provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework.