‘Guest accommodation’ to replace offices – Exeter

An example of the new normal? – Owl

Daniel Clark, local democracy reporter and Radio Exe News www.radioexe.co.uk

Less demand for business space expected

Guests will rendezvous above wine bar at 38 Southernhay East

Plans to convert officers in Southernhay East, Exeter into guest accommodation have been unveiled as ‘home-working here to stay’.

Internal alterations to the ground and first floors of the offices at 38 Southernhay East in Exeter have been proposed to change their use from offices to guest accommodation.

It is not clear who the guests will be, how long they will stay or who will own the properties.

The application says that the proposed alterations will ensure a sustainable and viable future for the property and quotes figures from the Institute of Directors which suggests coronavirus is set to have a lasting impact on office use.

ln a survey of close to a thousand company directors conducted last month, nearly three quarters said they would be keeping increased home-working, and more than half said their organisation intended to reduce long-term use of workplaces. More than one in five reported their usage would be significantly lower.

A statement with the application adds: “The minor internal alterations will not harm the character of the building, which will be enhanced through the restoration of lost internal features and the preservation and continuing maintenance of the exterior to ensure the high-quality visitor satisfaction. There will also be economic benefits to local businesses and the wider city through the provision of this facility.”

The basement, which is a wine bar, and the second floor, which is in residential use, are unaffected by the plans.

Exeter City Council planners will decide whether to accept or reject the scheme at a later date.