The Masterplan sets out to make the best use of green space on the Hele Road site, opening it up as much as possible to benefit both students and local people.
Running through the site a new pedestrian route from the entrance by the General Buller statue to a new entrance at the Howell Road side of the campus is proposed.
This new entrance will help to open up the large area of green space to the north of the site.
This ‘landscape spine’ connects the green spaces in the site and allows access through the campus.
Public access to parts of the site may be limited at times to ensure the safety of the young people in the college’s care, but the college wants as many people as possible to be able to use and enjoy its facilities such as the @34 Restaurant and the H2B Salon and Spa.
The Hele Road campus benefits from a rich heritage context, located within the St David’s Conservation Area, an important area of historic townscape, which contains numerous listed and locally listed buildings as well as many attractive parks and gardens.
Hele’s School first opened on the site of what is now Exeter College in January 1850, and three of the Victorian school buildings survive to this day – the St David’s Buildings and The Study Centre are Grade II listed by Historic England, and a third, Greystone House, is locally listed.
The Grade II buildings are noted for their Gothic Revival design and their later additions, which still illustrate their original function.
Other Listed Buildings within proximity of the campus that require careful consideration include Atwill’s Almshouses and front wall (both Grade II listed), St David’s Church (Grade I), the Lodge (Grade II), the Equestrian Statue of Redvers Buller (Grade II) and the Imperial Hotel (Grade II*).
All these heritage assets, particularly the former Hele’s School buildings, have clear and important implications for the development of the Masterplan layout, as these buildings are historic assets of high significance.
As part of the development of the Masterplan heritage advisors from Exeter City Council and Historic England have been consulted in detail. Their positive feedback has resulted in changes to the overall pattern of development and the specific details of how the quantum of development can be achieved without negative impact on the designated heritage assets in the area. The current scheme is a product of those discussions and reflects how the site can absorb change without harm to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area or to the setting of the Listed Buildings.