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HELP PUBLISH THE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM EXETER NEEDS
Exeter Observer is running a community share offer to raise the investment we need to cover more of what matters and foster our city’s cultural and community life.
HMRC has given us advance assurance that our share offer is eligible for 50% tax relief under its Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, minimising risk by enabling investors to claim half their investment back while keeping all their shares. Capital gains tax and loss relief is available too.
We’re also hosting a series of informal events to share our plans and invite attendees to choose the coverage expansion options they’d most like to see. Register on our website to secure a place.
DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL ADMITS “SERIOUS, MATERIAL, WELL-EVIDENCED” GOVERNANCE FAILURES
Deficient SEND and children’s services combine with threat of section 114 bankruptcy notice to prompt “root and branch” review aimed at restoring “external confidence in the council’s democratic legitimacy”. Full story here.
2023 EXETER LOCAL ELECTIONS GUIDE
City council elections take place on Thursday 4 May. Our essential guide highlights who’s standing where, wards to watch and what the results might be. It also covers the wider context, voter ID and the impact of First Past the Post in Exeter elections. Full story here.
EXETER LOCAL ELECTIONS CANDIDATE IS ALSO STANDING IN WINCHESTER
University of Exeter student Harry Johnson-Hill hopes to represent voters both in Duryard & St James and at home in Alresford & Itchen Valley, 100 miles away. Full story here.
ALPHINGTON WORST REPRESENTED WARD AS COUNCILLOR ATTENDANCE AT PUBLIC MEETINGS VARIES WIDELY ACROSS CITY
Consistent commitment to participation in democratic decision-making by some councillors in contrast with poor attendance rates of others. Full story here.
WHEN, WHERE AND HOW TO VOTE IN THE 2023 EXETER LOCAL ELECTIONS
Our guide to casting your ballot in person, by post and by proxy as well as the new voter ID requirements. Read it here.
EXETER CLIMATE ACTIVISTS SUBVERTISE BUS SHELTERS WITH SATIRICAL NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGES
City centre posters promoting “The Big One”, a mass gathering in Parliament Square on 21 April that began four days of climate action in Westminster involving 100,000 people. View gallery here.
EXETER IN BRIEF
The UNIVERSITY OF EXETER has submitted plans for a six acre 1.07MWp solar farm and substation beside Belle Vue Road and alongside Duryard Valley Park which include fencing off part of the publicly-accessible greenspace.
SOUTH WEST WATER has been fined £2.15 million and ordered to pay £280,000 costs after pleading guilty to thirteen environmental offences committed between July 2016 and August 2020 across Devon and Cornwall, the largest fine imposed for such offences in the region. The company allowed toxic chemicals to escape into waterways on several occasions, causing significant environmental damage. A single spill at Kilmington led to the deaths of thousands of fish in the River Axe, including protected species. It also pumped raw sewage into rivers and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
A major review of EXETER CITY COUNCIL governance, which has already been postponed six times and was not expected to address the issues it raises until July, making it nine months late, has now disappeared from the council’s forward plan altogether.
Exeter COST OF LIVING data shows that wages fell in real terms by 6.6% over the year to March 2023, the biggest fall bar one of all 62 cities and large towns included in the Centre for Cities tracker. The think tank found that Exeter workers were on average £144 a month poorer in January 2023 than the previous year as local wage levels have more in common with the north of England than the south.
Work at MARSH BARTON RAILWAY STATION is now complete but an opening date will not be set until regulatory approval for its use is granted. The station was originally scheduled to open in December 2016.
When asked at April’s meeting of EXETER CITY COUNCIL why it does not follow Local Government Association guidance which explicitly advises against the council leader and planning portfolio holder sitting on the planning committee to avoid conflict of interest risks, council leader Phil Bialyk said: “I choose not to follow the guidance”. Both he and Emma Morse, Executive portfolio holder for city development and planning, continue to sit on the committee, which she also chairs.
Dozens of postal voting forms completed with the names and addresses of Exeter voters have been left on a garden wall by local EXETER LABOUR election canvassers. The data breach occurred as the national party put the sensitive personal data of millions of local authority voters at risk via a security flaw in its telephone canvassing database.
EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY
HELP HOLD EXETER’S POLITICAL PARTIES TO ACCOUNT DURING THE LOCAL ELECTIONS
Send us any campaign materials you receive so we can factcheck candidates’ claims and hold them to their pledges after the votes have been counted. More details here.
ON OUR RADAR
SATURDAY 29 APRIL // SIDWELL STREET BAKEHOUSE
Not Saints/Together open mic night: a free evening of music, poetry and comedy in an inclusive, safe and sober space. More info here.
TUESDAY 2 TO SATURDAY 12 MAY // MAKETANK
Make Your Own Book festival: an exhibition exploring local independent book and art creators with a weekend of storytelling, illustration and book-making workshops. More info here.
WEDNESDAY 3 MAY // EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB
How can Exeter Observer help our city to thrive? Come along to one of our informal events and share your ideas on how we might grow the independent journalism Exeter needs. More info here.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
CITY COUNCIL SUSTAINABLE FOOD POLICY IS A CLIMATE CRISIS RED HERRING
Proposed changes don’t apply to council meetings or most council food provision and are expected to have unquantifiably small impact while diverting resources from major decarbonisation challenges. Full story here.
DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL SOCIAL CARE CUTS TARGET HOMELESSNESS SERVICES
£1.5 million homelessness prevention service funding cut will make situation worse for people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness and is likely to cost more than it saves. Full story here.