A former mortuary in the grounds of what used to be an asylum is set to be converted into an office.
The building is in the grounds of the former Exeter City Asylum (Digby Hospital) which opened in 1886 and closed in 1987.
Soon after, the site was developed for new-build housing and retail (including a Tesco Extra) and the main building was converted to residential use, but the two mortuary buildings (one for males and one for females; Victorian morals even in death) were left untouched.
Over the years the buildings have decayed and been the target of vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
The developer’s preferred option was for a residential conversion having been advised that there was no demand for offices in that location.
However, Exeter City Council disagreed and refused the application. That refusal was appealed (Exeter Planning acted for the applicant) but was dismissed. Basically the planning inspector thought the building was simply too small to provide an acceptable home environment.
As Exeter City Council are still advocating a conversion to office use, a planning application has now been made to that effect.
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