The second of two RAMM-hosted Liveable Exeter promotional events, focussed on Exeter’s future as a “garden city”, took place last night with the city council’s Director of City Development, Ian Collinson topping the bill.
Despite having been in post since April, and having overall responsibility for the development of the new Exeter Local Plan and the council’s property development schemes, Mr Collinson appears not to know that the city has more than a dozen significant employment sites in addition to the city centre, or that Exeter suffers from significant outbound, as well as inbound, commuting.
He also seems to think that Exeter’s labour supply problems result from too few people living here, rather than its falling economic activity levels, and that other cities haven’t found solutions for the problems Exeter faces, despite many being far ahead on liveability and decarbonisation.
Meanwhile the basic rationale for the Liveable Exeter-financing Exeter Development Fund — that the council’s planning policy and development control powers and its ownership of many of the scheme’s intended development sites are insufficient to ensure the delivery of low carbon design — continues to shed credibility.
Not only has the government confirmed that local planning authorities are free to set higher standards than the national Building Regulations for energy efficiency, it has since extended these and other related design quality standards to include electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
New detailed design codes are also on their way, which can be used to set stringent standards in much greater detail than planning policy documents.
They can cover environmental and energy efficiency standards, walking and cycling infrastructure specifications and public realm requirements, among many other development delivery details, and are expected to come into force before the new Exeter Local Plan is adopted.