Co-Living Sparks Debate in Exeter’s Redevelopment Project

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A contentious decision looms over Exeter as the City Council moves forward with plans to introduce ‘co-living’ spaces in a significant redevelopment project centered around the Mary Arches car park. This initiative seeks to offset the financial setback caused by the collapse of the Exeter City Living housing company.

The dissolution of the Exeter City Living housing company left the council facing a £10 million deficit. In response, the Mary Arches and Clifton Hill sites were earmarked for housing development, with a commitment to preserving green spaces at Clifton Hill for public use. This strategic move aims to rejuvenate the city’s housing sector while recouping losses.

However, the proposal has triggered a heated debate within the council, particularly regarding the inclusion of ‘co-living’ spaces. This housing model involves residents occupying private ‘bedsit’ rooms within a furnished building, sharing communal areas. Opinions on this concept diverge sharply among local councillors.

One councillor from the Green party argues for a diversified residential development at Mary Arches, emphasizing the importance of nurturing a community spirit. “The residents of Exeter are not in favor of co-living,” the councillor remarked, suggesting a reluctance among the city’s population to embrace this housing concept.

Another Green party representative underscores the need for establishing homes with a long-term perspective. “Co-living won’t address the housing needs of Exeter residents,” the councillor asserted, emphasizing the desire for permanent residences that residents can truly call their own.

In contrast, the council leader passionately supports the inclusion of co-living spaces in the redevelopment plan. Urging fellow councillors to withhold judgment, the leader emphasized the demand for temporary living arrangements. “Many individuals would value having a place to live for a defined period,” the leader stated, acknowledging the diverse housing requirements within the community.

As the debate rages on, the fate of the co-living component will be decided in future council deliberations. This critical decision will significantly influence the trajectory of Exeter’s housing landscape.

While some argue that co-living spaces cater to the transient needs of individuals, others hold steadfast in their belief that a more traditional approach to housing development, fostering community and permanence, is essential to meet the housing demands of Exeter residents.

The controversy surrounding the inclusion of co-living spaces underscores the delicate balance local authorities must strike between meeting diverse housing needs and preserving the essence of community living. As the project progresses, Exeter residents eagerly await the final decision that will shape the city’s housing landscape for years to come.

Dawn Jackson
Dawn Jackson
Journalist Dawn is an experienced business journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for uncovering stories that impact local communities, Dawn brings a unique perspective to her work. Through her insightful reporting, she keeps readers informed about the latest developments in various regions, shedding light on the economic landscape and entrepreneurial endeavours. Dawn's dedication to delivering accurate and engaging business news makes her a valuable asset to the News Write Ups team.

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