A new way of developing cities

Research for a new city-owned development plan takes the next step.

Global City Futures have been given the go ahead to progress a new city development concept; the Exeter Development Fund, supported by One Public Estate. Find a link to the Outline Business Case delivered for Exeter City Futures, below. 

Global City Futures has been working with public institutions in Exeter to identify sites for a possible 12,000 climate-ready, healthy new homes for one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. 

Numerous benefits for Exeter

Roli Martin, Head of Finance at Global City Futures said “We believe the funding and delivery model we have created has the potential to raise the investment needed across the UK for modern city infrastructure. The Outline Business Case for the Exeter Development Fund has been agreed this month by the Cabinet Office and One Public Estate.” 

The Fund is a replicable, innovative concept. It is a collaboratively owned, public sector infrastructure fund at a city regional level.” 

The Exeter Development Fund is envisioned to:

  1. be public-sector owned across the city;
  2. be professionally run;
  3. be impact driven with Exeter place-making at its heart; and
  4. recycle all profit back into the city’s future development projects.

The outline business case sets out how numerous benefits could come to Devon’s capital city, including 12k new sustainable homes designed in such a way as to minimise resident’s fuel bills; with a minimum of 35% proposed to be offered as affordable housing. 

Download the 152-page pdf document here:
The Exeter Development Fund Outline Business Case

A 21st century city

Potentially these could be congestion-free communities, designed to prioritise walking and cycling, with easy access to shops and leisure, making ‘15 minute communities’. The plan, if successful, includes high-quality green spaces for socialising and relaxation, and it is envisaged that new employment opportunities will be created to support the new homes. 

The concept of the Exeter development Fund is that it would pool assets from across the public sector in the city to give it secure borrowing capacity. In Exeter, the development of the Fund is supported by Exeter City Council, the University of Exeter, the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust and Exeter College. 

The Fund would operate grant free, using equity from government, both central and locally. 

Developed by Global City Futures for Exeter city, this innovative fund would ensure that control of developing land remained with the city – not developers. This Global City Futures model could be scaled and replicated across the UK. 

Net zero aims

Karime Hassan, Chief Executive of Exeter City Council and Exeter City Futures said “Private sector developers don’t always for deliver for Exeter in a way that aligns with the vision for the city in the next two decades. Property developers’ accountability to their shareholders will usually have a greater motivation than their accountability to the residents of Exeter, and we need to change that.” 

When equity is controlled in the public sector, this will strengthen placemaking for the city, giving greater control and opportunity to realise the policy intent and vision of the local plan, from levelling up through to tangible sustainability. On top of this, profits are retained and recycled into the city’s next project.”

The next stage is for financial consultants at Global City Futures to develop a Full Business Case, including consultation with local communities and taking on their needs and concerns. The hope is to have The Exeter Development Fund in place to support the city’s 2030 net zero aims. 

Related portfolio items:
Next phase of Exeter Development Fund
Exeter Development Fund