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Coplan and Welbeck CP get green light for £120m GDV mixed use scheme in Exeter

Coplan Estates and Welbeck CP unlock Exeter’s canal side residential revival

  • Planning permission secured for Haven Banks retail park regeneration
  • Residential-led mixed-use scheme will provide 423 new homes
  • First part of strategic Water Lane redevelopment plan and Liveable Exeter vision
  • JLL instructed to find an institutional investment partner


Coplan Estates and joint venture partner Welbeck CP will be revitalizing Exeter’s canal side and the former Haven Banks retail park for a high-quality, high-density, residentially-led mixed use development following the green light by Exeter City Council’s planning committee (5 December).

Plans to re-purpose the largely redundant retail park to the west of the city centre were developed over 2.5 years with the designs chosen to achieve a close alignment with the City Council’s emerging vision for the Water Lane strategic regeneration area.

The scheme will transform the dated retail park into 423 new homes, commercial/retail uses, high-quality public realm and comprehensive new landscaping.  The plans include a mix of tenures with 239 built to rent apartments and 184 co-living studios.

Colin McQueston, Head of Development at Coplan Estates, said:

“This scheme will be transformative for Exeter and a major strategic move to address the city’s housing need.  Our plans to repurpose a brownfield, waterside retail park into a vibrant new piece of the city offer a glimpse of the future and the wider Water Lane regeneration area.  It’s excellent to have a local planning authority grasp the nettle on intensification and high-quality, urban living and we’re looking forward to repaying that trust by delivering an outstanding development.  We want to move forward as quickly as we can and, subject to completing the S106, will be targeting a start on site in late 2024.”

The proposals will transform a ‘big-box’ 1980s style retail park, bowling alley and surface level car park into a new neighbourhood built in line with the City Council’s emerging Liveable Exeter principles.

The designs – which include four main ‘blocks’ built around highly permeable public realm – use locally-inspired materials to respect, reflect and enhance the scheme’s position in the canal side basin.

The total development value of the scheme is anticipated to be approximately £120 million.

Coplan Estates and Welbeck CP have appointed JLL to source an institutional partner for the residential elements, looking to create a high-quality and long-term, income generating asset across the BTR and co-living components.

The team will also be coming to the market shortly to procure a suitable main contractor partner.

Within the overall approach to sustainability and low carbon living, the scheme is ‘car lite’ and includes features to support and encourage active travel.  It is also outstandingly well connected to the canal side and public rights of way, the city centre and the nearby Exeter St Thomas railway station.