Funding secured for next phase of Exeter Development Fund

Global City Futures are delighted to be working with Exeter City Futures to deliver the next phase of the Exeter Development Fund on their behalf. Exeter City Futures have been awarded funding of £840,000 from the government to support the development of new communities.

prioritising sustainable communities

Global City Futures will work closely with their fellow Exeter City Futures board members; Exeter City Council, Devon County Council, the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, University of Exeter and Exeter College.

The Exeter Development Fund is an innovative, publicly owned financial structure that ECF will lead with Exeter’s public sector organisations. Using public sector land, expertise and collaboration, the goal is to dramatically change the city’s built environment and deliver on the city’s net zero ambition.

Currently, public sector land for sale is typically sold to developers for the highest price. Exeter City Futures have been asked to compile the evidence and engage partners, landowners and influencers of Exeter to help change this practice to prioritise sustainable communities and healthy homes.

People Riding Bikes on Paved Trail in Houston Park (view of river and skyline of downtown Houston) - Change Management

A new way of doing business

Roli Martin, Project Lead of the Exeter Development Fund said: “This new tranche of funding will allow us to develop detailed delivery plans for Exeter. We have proved that this new way of doing business will work, and in the next two years we will be working with our Exeter stakeholders delivering successful pilot sites. This community-owned Development Fund could be a sustainable model for other cities, and it can be scaled and replicated for the UK.”


Colourful sunset at Exeter Quay in the evening

What is the Exeter Development Fund?

Delivered by Exeter City Futures, the Exeter Development Fund will provide the long-term, sustainable finance that supports the delivery of the city’s housing and infrastructure needs. The fund is owned and operated by public sector and non-profit organisations in the city aiming toward Exeter’s Net Zero 2030 goals. Any profit will go back into the pot ready for the next development. 

The Fund aims to attract further private and public sector finance by combining public-sector land, buildings and brown-field sites for sustainable development. Finance secured will be used to develop new, low carbon mixed-use communities on these sites – incorporating homes and businesses, as well as community and cultural facilities.

These new communities will have sustainability at their core, incorporating transport, energy and placemaking solutions in the design. This will ensure new developments meet the needs of residents as well as feeding into Exeter’s carbon neutral ambition.

The Exeter Development Fund aims to secure the city’s access to long-term infrastructure funding. This is a solution that:

  •     Ensures the city can sustainably fund the delivery of the infrastructure and projects that are required to meet the needs of local residents and Exeter’s net zero ambition;

  •     Puts control and the outcomes of city development back into the hands of the city and its people, rather than traditionally external, profit-led private developers; and

  •     Uses the financial power Exeter already has in its land, buildings and other assets to unlock the funding for its own development needs.

Because the Development Fund is community owned, the public sector will benefit from an on-going income stream.


Green walkways and public space between high quality accommodation.

Progress So Far

A substantial, successful amount of progress has already been made by Exeter City Futures and their Exeter stakeholders. In 2019  Exeter City Futures received £200,000 of Central Government funding from the Local Government Association, One Public Estate and the Cabinet Office to design a proof of concept. More about the first phase of the Exeter Development Fund

The recent funding, that takes the total for Exeter Development Fund to more than £1m, has been awarded as part of the MHCLG’s New Development Corporation Competition. This is a £10m fund that has been distributed to 10 transformational projects led by partnerships with local authorities. 

Winning the funding will allow Exeter Development Fund to develop detailed delivery plans over the next 2 years, alongside a plan for implementation. This includes:

  • identification of a pilot site and detailed development appraisals and costing
  • developing and updating an Outline Business Plan
  • financial model development
  • development of a target operating model for the Fund
  • commissioning of feasibility, planning and diligence work 

All in line with the Government’s Green Book guide to appraise and evaluate policies, projects and programmes.

Bird's-eye view of people sitting at a green city park - Global City Futures