Copy
View this email in your browser

FRIENDS OF EXETER SHIP CANAL

Emergency bulletin on the future of Maclaines Warehouse: 11 July 2020

Exeter Canal and Quay Trust says ‘No’ to Friends’ vision and intends to sell Maclaines Warehouse Units 3 & 4 for offices

 

Dear <<First Name>>

The proposal by the Friends of Exeter Ship Canal to spark a revival of the Canal Basin with an exciting scheme for boatyard and community activities in the empty Units 3 & 4 of Maclaines Warehouses was rejected by Exeter Canal and Quay Trust. 
 
It insists on selling the historic waterside buildings (pictured above) for office development. 
 
And Exeter City Council intends to decide the planning application from office development entrepreneurs Forward Space using delegated powers, without public scrutiny by the Planning Committee.
 
This emergency newsletter is to inform you of these developments and that the Friends are calling on the council and ECQT to reconsider their decisions.
 
We will announce our plan and how you can add your voice to the campaign for Maclaines next week.
 
Background
 
Units 3 & 4 Maclaines Warehouses are the last remaining substantial buildings on the waterside at Exeter Canal Basin that can be returned to uses connected with the canal. 
 
They are a vital asset as a hub for reviving maritime use of the waterway and basin as well as a much-needed site for community activities on the west side of the river Exe in St. Thomas, Exwick and adjoining neighbourhoods.
 
In January a planning application by office space developers Forward Space of Frome to turn the buildings into offices was advertised. The Friends formally opposed it in February. This was before the Covid-19 lockdown. Since then businesses have been looking for new ways of working including more working from home and additional office space is not in demand. 
 
To remove the warehouses now from potential waterway and community use would be a dreadful missed opportunity and a setback to Exeter’s future as a city where great things can happen. 
 
The Friends produced alternative proposals in their document ‘Maclaines Warehouses—The Future’ which outlined plans to turn the buildings into a working maritime and community hub. 
 
On Monday 6 June, Exeter Canal and Quay Trust, as landlords of Macalines, turned down the Friends’ request for a breathing space to reconsider the warehouses’ future, despite the Friends’ submitting a proposal from a top firm of consultants for a ‘Route Map’ for exploring the feasibility of the alternative scheme. 
 
ECQT, meeting behind closed doors, later gave their reasons for refusal. They are in full:
 
“The Trust on Monday gave detailed consideration to the alternative proposal for the Maclaines Warehouse put forward by the Friends of Exeter Ship Canal. They also considered the request from the Friends for funding towards a road-map for the future of the premises and were advised of the papers submitted by Nicola Dyer, Associate Director at Greenwoods Projects.
 
“Unfortunately, I must advise that it was not considered appropriate to entertain alternative suggestions at this stage and therefore the Trust will be proceeding with the existing proposals.
 
“Given the past difficulty over many years in generating interest in these premises and the advanced planning and commitment to the proposals of the two interested parties, Trustees were unanimous in feeling that any change at this stage would represent an unacceptable back tracking. It was also considered that it would also be highly inappropriate to renege on its original commitment given to these parties. There was concern too, regarding possible reputational repercussions for both the Trust and the City Council.  
 
“In reaching this conclusion, they had regard to the recommendations of an independent surveyor who advises the Trust on property matters who states that ‘both of the current purchasers have spent considerable time and financial resource in seeking Planning and Listed Building Consent, for their proposed uses and refurbishment works. While at their own risk, this has followed the Trust’s agreement in principle to sell to them and shows their own commitment’ and that ‘a delay to reconsider now will see nothing concrete come forward for some time’.
 
“I am sorry that the Trust is unable to provide a more positive response, however, it was noted that should the current proposals not proceed, the Trust would be mindful of engaging with the Friends on the future use of the building.”
 
The Canal Friends are now looking at what to do next to save the buildings for the waterway and the community. We are also calling on ECQT and the city council to start to work together on strategy, business planning, heritage protection, and marketing for the canal and basin.
 
This is a crucial campaign for the future of the canal and its value to Exeter as a whole. We will need your backing and will keep you informed. 

Do look after yourselves in these still difficult times.

Stay safe and keep well and we look forward to seeing you at a Canal Friends event as soon as can be.

With all best wishes
John

John Monks
Chair
Friends of Exeter Ship Canal
jbmonks@btinternet.com
01392 493559

 

We are always keen to welcome new members who are supporters of the canal. If you know anyone who may be interested please feel free to forward this newsletter to them.

Membership is:
Individual – £8 a year
Family – £15 a year
Lifetime – £100

Corporate or business membership can also be arranged.
For all membership enquiries please contact:
Mick Green, secretary 
michael.green@endorsehr.co.uk
 
Copyright © 2020 Friends of Exeter Ship Canal, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp