Historic Exeter hotel could be demolished and turned into retirement apartments – Free Radio

The plans have been met with a mixed response from the public

Proposals for Buckerell Lodge

Author: Ollie Heptinstall – Local Democracy Reporting ServicePublished 2 hours ago

A famous former Exeter hotel could be knocked down and turned into retirement apartments.

The historic Buckerell Lodge on Topsham Road, which had 54 en-suite rooms and was also a well-known weeding venue, closed last year after its parent company went into administration owing more than £4 million.

Developer McCarthy Stone has applied for permission to demolish the existing buildings and build a retirement complex with 65 apartments and associated facilities including car parking.

A planning application submitted to Exeter City Council says the development is “aimed at the over 60s who are seeking to downsize and who wish to benefit from a safe, secure environment with like-minded people”.

It adds: “The development would provide the opportunity for a high-quality residential development that would positively contribute to meeting a local housing need for older people. It represents a sustainable development, with wide ranging social and planning benefits, both for potential residents and the community.”

However, a public consultation, as listed in the company’s statement of community involvement, has received a mixed response. Of the 61 responses, 44 per cent objected while 43 per cent were supportive.

The planning application has already met some public opposition as well. One person said: “This building is part of Exeter’s history. It was the home of James Veitch, one of the great plant collectors. Some of the plants in the garden are ones he planted. Don’t destroy horticultural heritage.”

Another said: “This should not be allowed to happen. The site has much historical interest sic would destroy the already fragile ecosystem in the area.”

In another application document, McCarthy Stone said their proposal would “ensure the retention of the existing lawn area to the front of the site alongside extensive landscaping, including an attractive communal garden courtyard for residents as well as the retention and enhancement of the majority of trees on-site to create a pleasant residential environment and maintain the existing, natural screen along Topsham Road.”

The company bills itself as the UK’s “leading developer and manager of retirement communities”. The group buys land and then builds, sells and manages retirement developments. It has built and sold more than 58,000 properties across more than 1,300 retirement developments since 1977.

Exeter City Council’s planning committee will make a decision on the application at a later date.

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