New sports stadium and concert arena for 20,000 people could be coming to Devon

PUBLISHED: 15:31 01 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:10 04 February 2019

Archant

An indoor sports stadium and concert arena with a capacity for 20,000 people could be built in the Greater Exeter area.

It could come as part of the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan, (GESP) which will affect where you live, work, shop, enjoy leisure and get around up until 2040. It is the major strategic blueprint for the areas around Exeter.

Mid Devon, East Devon, Teignbridge and Exeter City Council will all be working in partnership with Devon County Council, are teaming up to create the GESP.

No specific location for where any stadium would go has yet been decided, but it would have to be accessible for all four councils.

The idea was initially suggested by East Devon District Council’s deputy leader Councillor Phil Skinner and has been supported by Teignbridge District Council’s leader Cllr Jeremy Christophers.

Cllr Christophers said: “The GESP cannot just be a document about housing, but also about infrastructure and more highlights for the area.

“We are looking at the evidence of need for a sport zone and a concert venue that could host 10-20,000 in the area. We would need to make sure it stacks up financially, but it is welcomed and we think there is a need for it.

“There is nothing this side of Bristol like it that can give a year-round audience in a stadium of about 10-20,000 people. We feel that there is a need for this, but we will have to see whether it is what the people want.

“The proviso of the document is that the GESP area will become a rural city, but it absolutely needs the infrastructure in place, and that has to include all the things that you would expect to find in the city.

“We are seeing what we can provide around an indoor sports facility and a concert arena and to see if it is deliverable to have one in the area.

“It is too early to be site specific but we are having discussions about it now.

“Any stadium may need to grow over time and would have to be built so it can expand as it could be something that draws people in from all over the south west.”

Cllr Skinner, speaking at the East Devon Strategic Planning Committee, said: “My own aspiration about talking to people is what we can get out of this for ourselves and looking at an opportunity for young people and them being aspirational through sport and music.

“Why can’t we be blue-sky thinking about something like this for the region through the GESP process. I want this in our patch and not somewhere else.”

“Making it accessible for all four areas cuts it down to around only four or five sites that can meet all the criteria we are looking at,”

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