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Exmouth Junction Wins Deal of the Year at the Insider’s South West Residential Property Awards 2023

We are proud to announce that Exmouth Junction won Deal of the Year at the Insider’s South West Residential Property Awards 2023 held in Exeter in April. The project was also shortlisted for the same award at the Property Week National awards.

The 15 acre brownfield site was acquired with no planning permission in place from Network Rail on an unconditional basis with Chenavari Investment Managers in 2018. The large urban site had remained vacant for many years and Eutopia Homes worked with the City Council and local stakeholders to secure planning permission for 489 residential units. The masterplan consent sought to provide an innovative and sustainable housing solution across the site, whilst also ensuring delivery is brought forward concurrently on three distinct phases.

Following the masterplan consent,further detailed planning permissions have been secured with our delivery partners. Eutopia Homes partnered with Grainger Plc as the funding and delivery partner for 230 build to rent units on Phase 1. Site enabling works were underway in May 2023.

Eutopia Homes were successful in securing ilke Homes with Places for People as the funding and delivery partner for Phase 2 (which comprises of 104 high density houses and 66 apartments). Ilke Homes will be delivering the site during 2023 utilising modern methods of construction, modular housing and a high provision of affordable housing.

Philip Pearson, Development Director at ilke Homes said:
“ilke Homes is delighted to be working in partnership with Eutopia Homes on Phase 2 of Exmouth Junction. As a leading UK modular housing firm, we look forward to playing our part to help transform and regenerate this redundant brownfield site. By providing much needed affordable and energy-efficient housing in the Exeter area this partnership will work towards creating a more sustainable and vibrant community”

Judges praised the project on it becoming one of the largest urban brownfield sites to be developed in the City Centre. The project has required a complex remediation strategy and engineering solution to be developed, alongside a low parking provision which exceeds Exeter City Council planning policies. The project will provide the first Discounted Market Rental product to key workers in the City for the Build to Rent phases. Eutopia Homes worked with the Council to create an innovative affordable housing product for the City which is likely to be replicated through future S106 agreements.

The project has required us to identify numerous funding and delivery partners, often with a bespoke approach. From the outset we needed to design an infrastructure network that would allow for three different funders, contractors and delivery partners to operate across the linear site. This has required a complicated logistics and infrastructure plan to be designed and drafted into legal contracts with the delivery partners. The project also required a collaborative approach to landscaping, estate management and utilities provision.

The initial investment with Chenavari Investment Managers of a total site purchase price of £8,500,000 alongside costs has delivered a strong return on the initial investment despite Covid impacts. Future returns will now be made by the phased delivery partners including Eutopia Homes and it’s investment in phase 3 with Housing Growth Partnership. Exeter has seen strong capital and rental growth over recent years and this has balanced the increased costs through construction tenders and interest finance costs meaning each phase is offering robust returns.

Cristian Postans, Head of Real Estate at Chenavari Investment Managers, said:

“We were delighted to support Eutopia Homes on the acquisition and planning stage of the Exmouth Junction site. We have seen them work collaboratively with the City Council to produce a truly ground-breaking regeneration project for the City”.

John McKeon, Housing Growth Partnership commented:
“Housing Growth Partnership is delighted to be supporting Eutopia with their Exmouth Junction developments. The Eutopia schemes will bring forward much needed new rental stock in Exeter and be integral to helping transform the Exmouth Junction area. We are particularly excited to be supporting such a high quality and sustainable development which responds to the ambition of Exeter City Council to be net zero by 2030.

It has been a pleasure to work with the Eutopia team on Exmouth Junction and have been impressed with their vision and commitment to the scheme and very much look forward to seeing the development of Exmouth Junction over the next few years.”

Phase 1 will provide the largest BTR scheme to date in Exeter of 230 units alongside a unique discounted market rental affordable product for the City. Phase 2 will demonstrate how a fully modular delivery solution for urban houses can be utilised to unlock complex sites. The funding for phase 3 between Eutopia Homes and Housing Growth Partnerships demonstrates to the housebuilding market that SME’s can deliver funding for complex urban sites. The funding and delivery approach adopted by Eutopia Homes demonstrates how a phased approach can be developed in parallel to ensure a greater number of homes are delivered across the housing spectrum at the same time.

The complete scheme will also provide over £5,600,000 of financial contributions and CIL to Exeter City Council towards a new Cycle highway, local health centre expansion, funding for new primary and secondary education places and road improvements.

The planning application was supported by a social impact analysis and how inclusion should be utilised in the construction phase. In terms of the professional team appointed to develop the masterplan and planning application, Eutopia Homes required consultants to identify their corporate diversity policies prior to appointment.

With a low level of parking on site but commitments to car clubs, electric car charging points, high cycle storage provision, new village green and 1km external running track the project will show how BTR, affordable housing and market sale housing can be developed in collaboration on a single project to meet and exceed the highest environmental and sustainability agenda.

Tomas Pierce, director of Darling Associates said;
“It has been a pleasure to work with Eutopia Homes and the wider team on a highly complex development. We are looking forward to seeing the delivery of the project now which has required an innovative approach to both design and logistics”

The overall masterplan delivers the creation of a safe and pleasant street level environment with 65% of the entire site dedicated to green space, a woodland walk, and fitness trail.

Since winning Deal of the Year, we are pleased to announce that we have broken ground on site and the site is officially under construction.

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