About Exeter Observer

One disruptive startup Exeter can’t do without

Exeter is positioning itself as a global leader in sustainable living, but many obstacles to becoming a world-class environmental exemplar remain. If reality is to match rhetoric, significant local challenges must be met.

Attempts to deal with such problems are hampered by the way public policy is determined and delivered. Meanwhile other powerful yet unaccountable organisations and actors also significantly influence decision-making which affects us all.

Good quality local news coverage can help address these issues by providing accurate, relevant, timely information about who is deciding what on whose behalf and how the bill for these decisions will be paid.

However, the capacity of the press to perform these essential public interest tasks has been eroded and the editorial independence of existing local media is at risk.

Exeter Observer is part of an agile, innovative local news sector that has emerged in response to these systemic challenges to deliver independent community journalism with public interest at its heart.

An antidote to existing local media models

Exeter Observer is editorially and financially independent, which means we produce and distribute our content without political or commercial bias.

We aim to deliver investigative journalism and in-depth articles rooted in community interest with real relevance and impact while informing and empowering our readers.

We observe industry best-practice principles, are fully regulated, and are enabled by ordinary people who share our mission to strengthen civil society and help people participate more effectively in local democracy.

Help deliver the independent public interest community journalism Exeter needs

Exeter Observer is looking for occasional and regular contributors to help create and deliver our content.

We are also seeking compelling stories about issues affecting the public interest in Exeter and beyond.

Our capacity to scrutinise, investigate and report depends on your support.

Public interest journalism relies on having sufficient resources to effectively interrogate information, arguments and the people who put them forward.

Every contribution, large or small, sustains our research and writing about the issues that matter in and around Exeter.

Your support also helps ensure our editorial and operational independence so our journalism stays free for everyone’s benefit.

Recent stories
St Sidwell's Point development site outline aerial view

Analysis  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Exeter City Council executive members take direct control of city planning decisions

Council's executive now possesses majority on city planning committee, with council leader and planning portfolio holder also included despite national guidance, offering basis to challenge decisions and increasing democratic deficit.

Read more ...

Pedestrians and people waiting at bus stop on Exeter Cowick Street

News  ⁄  Transport & mobility

Council abandons temporary COVID-19 cycling and walking safety plans in Exeter city centre

Devon County Council cites "pushback" from traders as schemes on North Street, South Street, Fore Street and Cowick Street are scrapped. Meanwhile temporary changes in Topsham are dropped after "snap poll".

Read more ...

Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan proposals vs Exeter territorial emissions vs Exeter carbon footprint bar chart

Analysis  ⁄  Climate & environment

Is the "Net Zero" Exeter plan fit for purpose? Part I: Exeter's carbon footprint

Exeter City Futures' carbon reduction plan ignores over a million tonnes of carbon emissions and massively underestimates the challenges facing the city. First in a series examining its flaws by Fridays For Future youth climate activists.

Read more ...

Food retailers at Queen Street Dining in Exeter Guildhall shopping centre

Analysis  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Unelected Liveable Exeter Place Board created to oversee city from the shadows

Exeter City Council has convened an unelected board that meets in private, does not publish its discussions or decisions and is taking responsibility for major policies which will determine Exeter's future.

Read more ...

Great Western Hotel beside Exeter St David's railway station

Analysis  ⁄  Community & society

Exeter rough sleepers in COVID-19 emergency accommodation face uncertain future

Exeter City Council has yet to confirm whether it will use any of the £2.15m Rough Sleeping Initiative funding it has received since 2018 to keep housing rough sleepers when government emergency accommodation funding runs out.

Read more ...