A property developer has secured £23.2m in funds to begin building more than 60 homes in Exeter.
Acorn Property Group, which has offices in Exeter, Newquay and Bristol, has received the cash from Paragon Development Finance to fund building at St Leonard’s, on the site of the former Royal Deaf Academy.
The cash will enable Acorn to plough ahead with Phase 1, a development of 37 one and two-bed apartments and 28 two to five-bed houses. The Phase 1 development is expected to be complete by Summer 2023.
Acorn acquired the site, close to independent restaurants and shops, as well as the River Exe, from the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education in 2018. The academy moved to a new purpose-built £10.5m facility at the former Rolle College in Exmouth in 2020.
Plans for the former academy site were approved by Exeter City Council planners in 2018. They envisaged it converted into 60 one- and two-bedroom independent later living apartments, a 68-bedroom care home, 130 general homes and a children’s nursery.
Permission was given for a care home and assisted living units on the western part of the site with a new shared access off Weirfield Road. A pre-school was intended to be included on the ground floor of a set of apartments.
The huge scheme would see the construction of a mixture of one- to two-bedroom apartments, and two- to five-bedroom family houses, including affordable housing.
Acorn said the properties would be “carefully designed to offer the best in modern living, the new homes will feature bespoke design and a high-quality specification.”
Melanie Omirou, executive group managing director and funding director at Acorn, said: “This is an opportunity to provide much-needed high quality houses and apartments along with public open space and affordable housing within easy reach of Exeter city centre.”
Acorn is an independent development and regeneration specialist that has for over 25 years successfully created a range of residential-led refurbishment and new build schemes across London, the South West of England and Wales.
In 2021 it teamed up with Totnes’ TQ9 Partnership LLP to further redevelop Baltic Wharf in the heart of the historic town of Totnes. This latest stage of regeneration will include a mix of residential homes and commercial space including the retention of the Baltic Wharf Boat Yard.
Acorn, which also has offices in London and Cardiff, is also working on South West schemes in Exmouth, St Austell, Bristol, Bath, Falmouth, Frome, Chillington, Exeter, Newquay, Barnstaple, Padstow, Constantine Bay, Fowey, Ottery St Mary, St Ives, Perranporth, among others around the region and UK, including several in London.
The funding for the St Leonard’s scheme represents Paragon Development Finance’s 11th project with Acorn. The deal was led on behalf of the bank by relationship director Nigel Jackson, with support from senior portfolio manager James Helmore.
Business Live’s South West Business Reporter is William Telford. William has more than a decade’s experience reporting on the business scene in Plymouth and the South West. He is based in Plymouth but covers the entire region.
Stay in touch: BusinessLive newsletters have been re-designed to make them even better. We send morning bulletins straight to your inbox on the latest news, views and opinion in the South West. Get our breaking news alerts and weekly sector reviews too. Sign up now – it’s free and it only takes a minute. To sign up for Business Live’s daily newsletters click here
And visit the Business Live South West LinkedIn page here
Ms Omirou said: “We have worked with Paragon for a number of years and enjoy a strong relationship with the team. They fully understand the requirements of our business and also have a deep understanding of the market in the South West of England.”
Nigel Jackson, Paragon Development Finance relationship director, said: “We are delighted to be working with Acorn again on their latest scheme in the South West. Exeter is a thriving city with an excellent university, thriving nightlife and natural beauty. It has become a hot destination for people to live, work and study and we expect these much-needed new homes to be popular with buyers.”