Redeveloping the CBD: A case study of Princesshay in Exeter

Is Princesshay a good example of a sustainable redevelopment?

A sustainable urban redevelopment must meet the social needs of people whilst conserving the environment and enhancing the local economy. Does Princesshay achieve this objective?

Three components of sustainablility - source wikipedia

Some information to get you thinking about the sustainability of the Princesshay redevelopment

Effect on city centre retail (economic)

Some local retailers have complained about Princesshay. The surf shop Quiksilver moved out after a year in the new development, complaining about high rents (local news story from the Express and Echo) An Exeter food retailer closed down, and blamed the lack of customers on Princesshay. (BBC News) Meanwhile, several retail units on the High Street remain empty.

empty shops       debenhams
Empty shops on the High Street adjacent to Next, part of the Princesshay redevelopment

Are the empty shops the fault of Princesshay - or is it just a feature of the economic depression?

Heritage (environment / social)

Developers often have to make goodwill concessions when carrying out a major scheme. These are called Section 106 agreements, and Land Securites had to improve facilites for tourists; including the building of a new Interpretation centre for the Underground Passages, which includes some of the archeological discoveries during the rebuilding.

passages The Underground Passages. Click the picture to see the Passages if you didn't find them earlier!

Improvements to public space (Environment / social)

art Public art is a feature of the new development


The sculpture "Glow Stones by Jeff Bell in the new public square at Princesshay

How important is public art to the "image" of a CBD?

Traffic and waste disposal (Environment)

service area

The underground service area at Princesshay. Click the picture for a 360° view

What are the environmental advantages of an underground service area?

Mixed land use with residential areas (Social)

Town planners increasingly encourage people to live in the CBD. This creates a 24 hour city, and maximizes the potential of valuable land space.

Can you think of some other advantages of creating mixed land use in the CBD?

Would you like to live in Princesshay? This is the interior of one of the new apartments.

Write an imaginary profile of the kind of person that would live here.


Social indicators and housing needs (Social)

If you lived in Princesshay, what would your neighbours be like?

Check out the Neighbourhood Statistics for this part of Exeter. The figures currently date from 2007. Find out more about St David's ward.


You might be suprised by the answers, though taken as a whole, Exeter is not an especially deprived city.

Other sources of information include Homecheck's Neighbourhood check and Up My Street

Is there a need for low cost housing in this part of Exeter? Is Princesshay meeting this need?

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