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DECLINE IN EXETER ECONOMIC ACTIVITY LEVELS AMONG LARGEST IN COUNTRY
Census figures also show population increasing at nearly six times rate of job creation over past decade while healthcare, wholesale/retail and teaching make up nearly half of all employment, reflecting low pay and productivity.
FUTURE OF DEVON BUS SERVICES BEING DECIDED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
Devon County Council does not want the public to hear whether local service improvements are going according to plan.
HOW CAN WE HELP OUR CITY THRIVE?
Exeter Observer is hosting a series of informal events to share our plans to cover more of what matters and help our city to thrive.
Each is loosely themed around a key topic, with short presentations and breakouts.
Attendees will be invited to choose the coverage options they’d most like to see and share their ideas on how we might grow the independent journalism Exeter needs.
There will also be home-made refreshments and plenty of time for ad hoc discussion.
The events take place on Wednesdays from 6-7.30pm:
- 5 April at Exeter Climate Hub - climate and environment
- 19 April at St Sidwell’s Community Centre - planning and place
- 3 May at Exeter Climate Hub - transport and mobility
- 17 May at St Sidwell’s Community Centre - community and society
- 31 May at Exeter Climate Hub - democracy and governance
- 14 June at St Sidwell’s Community Centre - arts and culture.
Places are limited so please RSVP to secure a spot. If you’d like to find out more or attend more than one event please drop us a line by replying to this email.
EXETER IN BRIEF
The latest from our home page newswire keeping you up to speed with local news that matters.
A MET OFFICE survey which asked a representative sample of the public about climate crisis action has found that 65% of respondents think we should be doing more to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
The conversion of BEAUFORT HOUSE, a 3,000m2 five storey office block on New North Road, to a 107-bed student accommodation facility has been approved by the city council.
The INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE has published its Sixth Assessment synthesis report, bringing together its three previous working group reports to deliver a “final warning” as the world approaches irrevocable damage caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions which can only be averted with deep emissions cuts.
Meanwhile council-run VISIT EXETER is promoting tourist visits to Exeter by plane from Scotland to Exeter Airport. Its greenhouse gas emissions inventory excludes aviation emissions from the city’s carbon footprint.
EXETER CITY COUNCIL has lost an appeal against its decision that an additional bedroom in a student house in Devonshire Place was unlawful. Seven students have occupied the house, which costs more than £6,000 per month to rent, since 2020.
The government has granted outline approval for a DEVON DEVOLUTION DEAL which could give new housing and transport powers to local councils across the county without changing its existing patchwork of first and second tier and unitary authorities or requiring an elected mayor. Devon’s local authorities will now prepare a business case for its proposals, which would require the consent of all the county’s councils as well as parliamentary approval before taking effect.
The refurbishment of PATERNOSTER HOUSE at the corner of Fore Street and North Street has begun, just one month before planning permission to convert the former department store into flats expires. Property developer Grenadier, part of the Oxygen House group of companies which is also responsible for Exeter City Futures, does not expect the project to be complete until the end of 2024.
Bindu Arjoon has been appointed as EXETER CITY COUNCIL CEO following the sudden termination of her predecessor Karime Hassan’s employment just before Christmas. Currently interim CEO, she was previously deputy CEO and was appointed after an internal selection process.
EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL has granted outline planning permission for a development of 1,035 low density residential dwellings alongside the old A30. “Treasbeare garden village” will extend Cranbrook southwards across 91 hectares of largely agricultural land towards Exeter Airport, and is expected to take ten years to complete.
Liberal Democrat councillor Kevin Mitchell has been nominated to become Exeter’s next LORD MAYOR with the Green Party’s Tess Read as his deputy. Their appointment is expected at the council’s annual meeting on 16 May.
Exeter City Council has decided to sell Grade II listed WEIRFIELD HOUSE in Larkbeare Road above the Port Royal public house on the open market. It has been used for temporary accommodation since the 1980s and requires extensive renovation.
ON THE AGENDA
The consulation on the draft DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan for Exeter, which is already nearly six years late, closes at the end of March.
Details of a new INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY to replace the section 106 agreements and community infrastructure levy charges that are currently imposed on most new development have been published by the government and are out for consultation. It would give local councils new powers to integrate affordable housing and infrastructure such as roads, schools and GP surgeries in development plans and facilitate the local capture of land value increases. The changes, which are being introduced in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill but will take ten years to implement, would also require councils to engage with communities to create new infrastructure delivery strategies.
A public exhibition of revised redevelopment plans for the WATER LANE area is being held at Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre from 10am-7pm on Friday 24 March and from 10am-4pm on Saturday 25 March. Around 1,000 high density housing units, including student accommodation and built to rent flats, are expected on the brownfield site. The information on display will also be available on the developer’s website.
Plans to redevelop the derelict COWLEY BRIDGE ROAD Johnsons cleaners site to provide a total of 350 beds of student accommodation in four blocks up to six storeys tall have been submitted for approval by the city council. The laundry facility was badly damaged by fire three years ago and was demolished last year.
A public consultation on a DEVON, CORNWALL & ISLES OF SCILLY CLIMATE ADAPTATION PLAN which will attempt to minimise the impact of climate change on the South West peninsula will be held from 8 May before a final version is adopted during the autumn, four and a half years after Devon County Council convened the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group to “act now to tackle [the] climate emergency”.
Plans for an ultra-high density build-to-rent development at HAVEN BANKS have been revised to rely on a Welcome Street bridge being built over the railway in response to Environment Agency flood risk objections.
PINHOE COMMUNITY HUB has resubmitted its application for a new building at Station Road playing fields following the lapse of the previous permission, granted three years ago.
SOUTH WEST WATER is consulting on its draft Water Resources Management Plan, which sets out how it intends to ensure a secure regional water supply and manage its environmental impact, until 19 May.
Detailed plans for the Honiton Road MOOR EXCHANGE RETAIL PARK have been submitted for approval. Outline planning permission for the development was granted two years ago.
The UNIVERSITY OF EXETER has submitted detailed plans for its 1,700 bed West Park redevelopment of 50,000m2 of student accommodation. They include ten storey blocks which are two storeys taller than agreed when outline permission was granted in May 2021.
ON OUR RADAR
FRIDAY 31 MARCH // EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB
Act together: a community talk and discussion led by University of Exeter climate scientist James Dyke on the climate crisis and how to tackle it.
FRIDAY 31 MARCH // EXETER LIBRARY
Library Late: an evening of live music, creative workshops and a tour of Exeter Library’s hidden corners.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
COUNCIL SLASHES COMMUNITY GRANTS BUT SPLASHES CASH ON PADDLING POOLS IN CONTESTED WARDS
Exeter grants programme budget reduced from £425,000 to £15,000 leaving hundreds of grassroots groups out in the cold as the impact of borrowing takes its toll and council fails to consult on budget cuts despite auditor recommendation.
EXETER CITY COUNCIL’S APPROACH TO DECISION-MAKING IS DAMAGING LOCAL DEMOCRACY
Separation of powers and transparency provisions intended to safeguard public interest being subverted while council defies auditor over loss-making company.