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Work has started on the redevelopment of Exeter's bus station site in Paris Street. Key figures in the project, including Council Leader Pete Edwards (left) and Kier's Managing Director, Anthony Irving (right), have gathered to see the progress.
Work has started on a major city centre redevelopment which will see a new leisure complex and bus station created in the heart of Exeter.
The redevelopment of the current bus station site is being funded by Exeter City Council and will be built by construction giant Kier.
Contracts have been signed and work is now underway on site.
The state-of-the art, Passivhaus leisure complex, called St Sidwell’s Point, and the new Exeter Bus Station, are expected to be completed in around two years.
A formal ground breaking ceremony took place today (Friday, January 18), to mark the start of work.
Council leader Pete Edwards said: “It has been a long road to get to this point and I am delighted that work has now started on site. Everyone knows that the existing bus station needs replacing, and a brand new leisure centre and swimming pool is desperately needed for Exeter.
“This development is of the highest quality, and will set the tone for the wider redevelopment which is planned at the site.
“The council is making a major investment to provide much needed new facilities for the people of this city, while helping to ensure the long term viability of the city centre.
“Many city centres around the country are dying because of a lack of investment - we won’t let that happen in Exeter. This city will continue to thrive.”
The existing bus station will remain open to passengers while its replacement is being constructed.
The creation of the new leisure complex and bus station is planned as the first phase of a wider redevelopment at the site, which will include parts of Paris Street and Sidwell Street.
In December the City Council unveiled a £300m vision for the wider site, which would include housing, offices, restaurants and retail, as well as the possibility of a new multi-use entertainment venue.
The vision, which has been backed by business leaders in the city, includes:
- The potential for a multi-purpose performance venue, with a capacity of around 1,200 seated or up to 2,500 standing
- 250 housing units for sale on the current Civic Centre site, and 250 units of housing built to rent
- A ten-storey, four star hotel with 175 rooms, and a budget hotel
- Almost 40,000 sq ft of retail units fronting Sidwell Street
- The potential to rehouse the relocated Civic Centre
- A new Office Quarter, with units over eight storeys
- More than 15,000 sq ft of food and drink outlets
- Flexible working space alongside the leisure centre
- Public realm enhancements – a new square in Paris Street and new civic space
St Sidwell’s Point will replace Exeter’s aging Pyramids swimming pool, and is expected to attract at least 500,000 visits a year – twice that of the RAMM.
The state-of-the-art new leisure complex will feature an eight lane main pool and four lane pool for learners, both with moveable floors.
There is also a confidence pool, 150 station gym, soft play area, café and crèche as well as extensive health and spa facilities. Due to ultra-filtration, the pools will have exceptional water quality with minimal chemical content.
It will be the UK’s first leisure centre built to super-efficient low energy Passivhaus standards, which is expected to eventually save up to 70 per cent on annual energy costs.
The new bus station will include covered waiting and boarding areas and high quality facilities. It will replace the existing bus station, which opened in 1964.
Councillors have approved a budget of £51.8m for the new leisure complex and new bus station.
The authority has saved and ring fenced £33.65m - income from new homes bonus, community infrastructure levy (CIL), Section 106 agreements and capital receipts for the purpose of delivering the leisure complex and bus station.
The additional funding is being borrowed without negatively impacting on the medium term financial plan, and will not increase the council’s already identified saving requirements and commitments over the coming years.
This will be achieved through income from the leisure centre operator and financial management measures, including restructuring of council-wide repayments of debt.
Last year the council announced Kier has been appointed as the preferred contractor to build the new bus station and leisure complex after a competitive tender process.