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Gallery Registered Charity Number 1172365

Planning Permission Success!

As you may have heard already, the Exeter City Council planning committee gave Park Life full planning permission in May 2018. This is a huge milestone in our story and has taken a many amazing people a lot of time and effort in getting to this point. If you commented on the planning portal, thank you for your feedback and general encouragement. Of the 95 comments we had, 85% supported the plans. There were some questions raised in those comments which we aim to answer some of here. Of course if you would like more information please contact us at hello@parklifeheavitree.org.uk.

Question: How is the council going to pay for this building when cuts are being made in so many other areas and who will run it?

Answer: The council is not paying for any of the building. Park Life will be fundraising the entire amount ourselves and running it as a community resource. Any profit made will go back into serving the community and improving the park.

Question: What about the mud humps and whale? What will happen to them?

Answer: As part of  planning permission we have been asked to relocate the mud humps next to the existing skate park before work starts on the cafe.  However, while this will happen , we are also looking for further funding to redevelop the skate park as it is two years past its use by date and in need of replacing. We feel to establish the mud humps properly, will take more planning and need funding to be done well.  The whale will stay!

Question:  What are the opening hours of the cafe and hall going to be?

Answer:  The Cafe’s opening hours will vary throughout the year. From March to October 0700 to 1900 Monday to Wednesday, 0700 to 2200 Thursday to Saturday and 0800 to 1700 on Sundays and Bank Holidays. November to February hours of use are 0800 to 1600 Monday to Wednesday, 0800 to 2200 Thursday to Saturday and 0800 to 1600 Sundays and Bank Holidays. The use of the community hall hereby approved shall not be carried out other than between the hours of 0800 to 2200. The opening hours will be reviewed 12 months after the commencement of the use.


Question: Why build on the proposed site when the bowls club is empty for half of the year? Can the two not be combined?

Answer: We have investigated the possibility of trying to combine the bowls club with the cafe/hall. However the bowls club members are now operating independently of the council and would prefer to keep and run their facility themselves. The site on the mud humps is the only one Exeter County Council would approve for us to build on.


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We have spent a lot of time speaking to local people about what they think would make their park better, and have held informal consultations in the park, during which preliminary plans for the building were well received. We have used this insight in the design of the building. This is the next stage of development for our community charity and will give us the chance to expand our activities in the Heavitree area and reach more people.

The building will be part not-for-profit café and part hirable hall. It has been fully costed along with a professionally written business model to ensure it will be viable and sustainable over the long term. We are currently working on fundraising for grants and donations to cover the full build costs to ensure the building begins life without debt.

Park Life are committed to the success of the Café and Community Hub in the long term and truly believe it will benefit Heavitree. With increased council budget cuts our parks and open spaces are increasingly under threat. We would hate to see this amazing park fall into disrepair and become inaccessible to all. The cafe and community space will help to ensure the long term sustainability of Heavitree Pleasure Grounds.


“We are currently involved with Park Life in their quest to improve community facilities within Heavitree Pleasure Grounds. Overwhelmingly positive support from the local residents and wider users of the park, and positive responses from Exeter City Council and the Planning office, have after several years gestation enabled Park Life to develop the proposals towards firm construction proposals. The local community has been consulted and involved through all stages to develop a brief for the building which will suit a wide range of needs. A community cafe will provide an every-day meeting place and form the hub of the activity. In addition a multi-purpose hall will be available for hire to local groups, activities, individuals and businesses for meetings, classes, talks, parties, etc. The building is located to be visible from the main entrance to the park and respond to the focus of activities in this area, particularly as families use the pools and play areas heavily in the summer. It will be a simply structured and carefully designed building demonstrating a sustainable approach to building not just a space but a community; it will support the wide range of social and support activities that Park Life are developing. We are pleased to be able to include here early design schemes that form part of the ongoing public consultation; these will be further developed towards a Planning Application in the summer of 2017. Once Planning Permission is secured the group will be in a position to seek full funding for the construction stages. “


The quote below is taken from Sean Keaney’s  Fairview Architects , the local company  who we have been journeying with and have asked to complete these plans for us.