Characterful City Centre Church Hall Conversion

Local Authority

Exeter City


  • Residential
Decoration Decoration

Planning permission secured to convert St Leonards Church in Exeter into new homes

Client Private
Architect Grainge Architects
Author Iestyn John

Project Overview

Our Devon team has secured full planning permission for the conversion of the characterful St Leonards Church hall into three high quality residential dwellings, close to the city centre of Exeter.

The church hall was purchased speculatively with the intention of converting it into residential use. However, a Local Plan policy relating to loss of community halls required a series of tests to be met, which involved extensive work to be undertaken before progressing to a formal planning application. This included the provision of marketing, demand and viability evidence and an appraisal of the alternative facilities available in the area. At the beginning of the process there were questions over the acceptability of the proposals, not only with the local planning authority but also with local residents.


However, Bell Cornwell were able to support the applicant and navigate through the various requirements as well as carry out an extensive pre-application consultation with the Local Planning Authority to overcome their initial concerns. This resulted in the Council’s position changing, whereby they confirmed that the principle of residential development was indeed acceptable, and the proposals represented a good use for the building.

Once a planning application was formally submitted, it was determined at officer level without delay having received no objection from consultees or members of the public.

Iestyn recently helped us to secure planning permission for our housing scheme in central Exeter. He provided invaluable support and we wouldn’t have got the scheme through without his planning expertise/advice, problem solving abilities and professionalism especially engaging with the council planning team. Thank you, Iestyn, for your unwavering support and answering all my questions over the last couple of years.

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