Decision details

Weirfield House

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


That Weirfield House be sold on the open market for best consideration.



That Weirfield House be sold on the open market for best consideration.

Reasons for the decision:

Weirfield House (picture below) was purchased by the Council on 11th November 1942. The Property is Grade II listed and located within a planning conservation area.



In 1989 a planning application was submitted by the Council to convert the existing building and build new apartments in the garden for homeless families. The extent of the buildings/site is indicated in the red line plan below.




Currently, the property is arranged as:






EPC Rating


1 Bed

2 Bed

2 Bed

2 Bed


Weirfield House





1 x D

2 x E

3 x F

Newer Block/Houses





1 x C

8 x D








The property, which sits within the Housing Revenue Account portfolio of properties, has been used for temporary accommodation from at least the mid 1980’s until present. All properties on the site are poor performing in terms of energy rating and would require


extensive investment to return them to a decent condition for letting.The Listed Building status of the main building makes refurbishment more difficult and expensive and full compliance to Decent Homes and retrofit requirements may not be possible due the building fabric challenges. 


An Options Appraisal Report produced by Exeter City Living (ECL) was primarily focused appraising the potential to develop the site for predominantly open market homes. As part of the Options Appraisal, ECL stated that a less than best consideration sale (maximum receipt £1m) to ECL would be required to enable a successful and viable development for the Company.


More recently, the Council’s City Surveyor, in consultation with Savills, has determined that an open market sale of Weirfield House would generate in the region of £1.1m.


In terms of the prospective site value itself, due to the condition of the property and the fact that it is boarded up for security reasons, it was not possible to obtain access to the internal elements of the property. This coupled with the ‘headwinds’ being seen in the development market currently, a more cautious valuation is indicated including allowing for more caveats within this valuation than we may have allowed for a few months ago, when demand for both development opportunities and residential housing in general was much higher and with greater confidence.


As it was not possible to inspect the properties internally and therefore not possible to assess their internal condition,  the valuation has allowed for the refurbishment costs of both properties to bring them up to market standards, including complying with current building regulations and environmental requirements. Furthermore, the fact that one of the properties is Grade II listed would also incur higher build costs to achieve this.


The comparable evidence available reflects the changes in the market and the varied range of values being achieved for properties with development potential in the area, and whilst the location of the property is very strong, the mixture of the buildings and the potential for achieving higher alternative use values is relatively limited without significant expenditure, which would need to be closely monitored to keep any potential development as viable as possible.


The key advantage of the subject properties is that they are already in C3 use and set out as residential apartments. As such, the subject properties have been valued at a slightly higher rate per sq ft comparing to most of the comparables.


As mentioned above, the market has taken a bit of a turn in the last few months since the mini budget. We are not seeing developers being as active in the market at the moment as they have been in the last few years.


With all that being said, If the property is brought to the market, market forces (offers) ultimately will determine the value someone is prepared to pay and we believe that this will require full and open marketing to achieve the best price. It may be that there is a “special purchaser” in the market at the time of disposal who would be willing to pay more than £1.1m in order to secure the site.


On the basis of the more favorable indicative valuation for an open market sale, it is therefore recommended to pursue this option and utilize the capital receipt generated for the HRA Housing Development Programme and retrofit works to existing properties.



Alternative options considered:

Retention of the property is unviable due to the refurbishment costs and the unsuitability of the configuration of the flats and houses.

The sale of the site to Exeter City Living has been assessed by the Company but the sale would need to be at less than best consideration which makes this a much less favorable option and potentially leaves the Council unable to demonstrate that best value has been secured for a HRA asset.


Development of the site by the Council would be extremely challenging due to the Listed Status of the main building and not cost effective in terms of number of properties that could be produced due to the configuration of the site.



Was an Equality Impact Assessment carried out and what were the findings?


Publication date: 28/02/2023

Date of decision: 08/03/2023

Effective from: 08/03/2023

Accompanying Documents: