Exeter Observer contributors

Exeter Observer contributors

Exeter Observer welcomes contributions from writers, editors and photographers who share our values and want to help produce our independent public interest journalism.

We offer support to help regular contributors develop story ideas and enhance their skills.

If you are considering contributing to Exeter Observer please see our contributors guide.


Bethany Collins

Bethany Collins is a recent University of Exeter graduate, where she received a first class degree in politics with a specialism in representation.

While at university she was an editor of and contributing writer for student newspaper Exeposé.

She is now focussed on examining and holding to account the representative function of Exeter local government.

@bethanyjcollins

Bryn Truscott

Bryn Truscott is a software engineer interested in climate change and the environment, as well as a keen photographer.

Chris Musgrave

Chris Musgrave is a trade union official, political activist and former Exeter city councillor.

He has a background in employment law, campaigning and election management, and has a passion for social and economic justice and protecting the environment.

Chris was also Chair of Trustees for Exeter-based Intercom Trust, an advocacy charity supporting LGBT+ communities across the South West.

Since deciding not to stand for re-election in 2019 he has focussed on democratic and financial scrutiny of local government, seeking to expose waste and inconsistency wherever he finds it.

@chris_musgrave

Chris Wood

Chris Wood is a computer programmer, climate activist, philosopher and grandfather.

He marched with Rock against Racism in the 1970’s, hitch-hiked around Europe and worked as a despatch rider before teaching himself programming and starting a software company.

Chris has worked with Exeter’s youth offending team, been a children’s advocate and, on occasion, jumped out of perfectly fine aeroplanes.

He has also studied philosophy and psychology at Oxford as a mature student.

His software development company had offices in Surrey and California until the family moved to Devon at the turn of the millennium for a radical life change.

@joffa42

Claire Wright

Claire Wright was an independent councillor on Devon County Council and parliamentary candidate for East Devon.

She became a Devon County Councillor in 2013, winning the largest majority of any county councillor two terms running. She represented Otter Valley and sat on the Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee, among other appointments.

She stood as an independent parliamentary candidate for East Devon in 2015 and 2017, when she won a 25% vote share. Her 2019 campaign attracted national media attention when an MRP YouGov poll found she was the most likely independent to be elected in Britain.

However, despite increasing her vote share to over 40% the national swing preserved 150 years of continuous Conservative East Devon representation at Westminster.

She was previously a councillor on East Devon District Council from 2011 to 2015 and Ottery St Mary Town Council from 2009 to 2013. Her professional background is in public relations, mainly for the NHS and other public sector organisations.

Other posts have included Deputy Chair of the Local Government Association Community Wellbeing Board, which represents the position of local government to Whitehall, with a focus on health and social care. She is also a Woodland Trust Tree Champion for Devon.

Find out more about Claire on her website.

@ClaireWrightInd

Daniel Clark

Daniel Clark was a Local Democracy Reporting Service reporter based in Exeter.

He covered Devon County Council and the county’s district councils and other public service organisations for Local News Partnerships, a BBC-funded public interest democracy reporting scheme in which Exeter Observer is a partner.

@HEDanielClark

Freya Garry

Freya Garry is a member of the UK Climate Resilience team based at the Met Office in Exeter.

Freya’s work contributes to a UK wide project on Climate Resilience, the Strategic Priority Fund for Climate Resilience.

Freya is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion across science and is involved with diversity initiatives in Exeter.

Freya co-founded the Women in Climate network at the University of Exeter, is involved in the PRISM Exeter network and is a keen climate science communicator, participating in the Climate Stories project.

Find out more about Freya on her Met Office profile page.

@freyagarry

Jenna McGill

Jenna McGill is a court reporter and NCTJ Diploma student who is doing portfolio work experience with Exeter Observer.

@JennaMcGill20

Laura Davies

Laura Davies has a background in education, teaching in London primary schools for seven years during which time she was an active union member.

She has worked for a number of independent, local businesses since moving to Exeter seven years ago, and has become increasingly involved in climate activism.

Laura is a keen cyclist, ornithologist and part-time DJ, regularly playing at Exeter Pride.

@lauradaviesdj

Leigh Curtis

Leigh Curtis is membership co-ordinator and community & culture editor of Exeter Observer and a director of its publisher Exeter Observer Limited.

She has a background in print design and production and project and account management with leading London media and design agencies.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she has also managed exhibitions and degree shows.

@leighcurtis

Louise Stinchcombe

Louise Stinchcombe is a freelance educator specialising in religious studies and history and has more than ten years' experience working in a range of educational institutions.

She graduated with an MA in Religion in Global Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in 2017 and continues to take an active interest in world politics, conflicts and gender-based violence.

Louise is a budding naturalist with a keen interest in conservation and rewilding and has been involved in climate activism since 2018.

@loustinch

Martin Redfern

Martin Redfern is editor of Exeter Observer and a director of its publisher Exeter Observer Limited.

He has 30 years’ experience working with public and private sector organisations in multi-stakeholder contexts to achieve social change goals, and has been actively engaged with public policy and practice around climate change since the 1992 Rio Summit.

He holds a Master’s degree with distinction in Journalism at Birkbeck, University of London and has a background in campaigning, project management and multimedia design and development.

He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists and the Society of Editors and is an accredited UK press card holder.

@martinredfern

Mike Myshko

Mike Myshko is a film-maker, photographer and designer.

He has a background in physics, animation and web development, and is passionate about telling unique stories and helping bring small projects to life.

After working on a number of well-received feature films, co-producing and selling an award-winning film to a major streaming platform, he is developing personal projects focussed on environmental issues, democracy and minority voices.

He has skills in branding, identity and web design alongside grading, compositing, motion graphics and post supervision.

Mike also has a first class BSc in Broadcast Technology and is a member of BECTU.

Find out more about Mike on his website.

@heymyshko

Mike Walton

Mike Walton is Chair of Exeter Cycling Campaign, a charity which promotes safe, convenient cycling in and around Exeter.

Exeter Cycling Campaign wants to see cycling become an everyday choice in Exeter for people of every age and ability on safe, direct, connected and convenient paths.

It believes that cycling delivers a clean, space-efficient way for people to travel which contributes to tackling key challenges including air pollution, traffic congestion and unhealthy lifestyles.

Find our more about Exeter Cycling Campaign on its website.

@miketwalton

Moragh Mason

Moragh Mason is a researcher for Exeter Observer.

She has a background in the public sector in a variety of roles including investigation and research report writing.

Having escaped the world of work she continues to put her research skills to good use.

She is particularly concerned about the loss of green space in Exeter and was involved in the campaign to save the Clifton Hill sports centre site from development.

Naomi Parkinson

Naomi Parkinson is an artist and campaigner working in marketing and events.

She has lived in East Devon since completing a degree in Film and English in London.

She is an environmental campaigner and active community participant, recently contributing to independent Claire Wright’s general election campaign.

@NaomiDJPerfect

Ollie Heptinstall

Ollie Heptinstall is a Local Democracy Reporting Service reporter based in Exeter.

He covers Exeter City Council, Devon County Council, Teignbridge District Council and Mid Devon District Council as well as Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue for Local News Partnerships, a BBC-funded public interest democracy reporting scheme in which Exeter Observer is a partner.

@OliHepy

Peter Cleasby

Peter Cleasby is a contributing editor of Exeter Observer.

A former senior civil servant, specialising in policy development and managing public business, he subsequently became a freelance policy, management and governance consultant and a trustee of several national and local charities.

He has since escaped from the boardroom and works - unpaid, of course - as an Exmouth Coastwatch watch-keeper, Exeter Green Party research officer and campaigner for openness in public life, as well as doing any other interesting odd jobs that crop up from time to time.

@Peter_Cleasby

Piers Forster

Piers Forster is Professor of Physical Climate Change and Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate, University of Leeds, and a member of the UK Climate Change Committee.

He has played a significant role authoring Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports including a co-ordinating lead author role for the IPCC sixth assessment report.

@piersforster

Roz Harding

Roz Harding is a jazz saxophonist who teaches at Exeter College where she also leads the Jazz Project and Jambassadors.

She has performed in a wide variety of ensembles and recording projects. Her music has been played on Jazz FM and BBC Radio 6 Music and she has played live on air for BBC Radio 3 and at venues including Ronnie Scotts, The Vortex, London Jazz Festival, Kings Place, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Women in Jazz and Birmingham Jazz.

She can be found playing in Mike Westbrook’s The Uncommon Orchestra, Kate Westbrook’s GRANITE, Dave Holdsworth’s New Brew, Emma Welton’s A Quiet Night In, Billie Bottle and the Multiple and leading her own project SUPERMOOD. She has also started working with Tom Glazebrook and his visual theory of music Meta-Harmony.

Roz has been involved in numerous youth projects in the UK and Europe, including Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra, and teaches at Exeter College, Plymouth University and South West Music School.

Sam Sleeman

Sam Sleeman is a climate activist, writer and student.

Sam works with Fridays for Future Exeter to mobilise the Youth Strike 4 Climate movement and organise around a Green New Deal.

He is reading Human, Social and Political Science at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and has been published in The Guardian, The Ecologist, The Big Issue and Open Democracy.

Sam enjoys cycling, climbing on Dartmoor and making documentaries.

@sleeman_sam

Vanessa Miles

Vanessa Miles is a portrait, editorial and events photographer and photography educator with a special interest in how to use positive environmental imagery to engage the public with climate and biodiversity debates.

She has been a photography tutor at Exeter Phoenix since 2013 and is a director of Well Image Community Interest Company, a social enterprise which helps people develop their creativity and enhance their mental and physical wellbeing using photography.

She has exhibited at Exeter Phoenix, Exeter Picture House, Plymouth Art Weekender and The Art Institute, Plymouth and her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Times, Country Life, The Ecologist and Resurgence.

She works with individuals, workshop groups, families and organisations and is a frequent collaborator on scientific and environmental projects.

Vanessa has a long history photographing all things environmental stemming from setting up The Environmental Picture Library in London in 1989, the first independent picture library specialising in environmental issues in the UK.

Find out more about Vanessa on her portfolio website.

@VMilesPhoto

Recent stories
Exeter City Council government borrowing 2014-2022 bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Council borrowing nearly triples in three years as property acquisitions and development loans mount

Freedom of information request reveals five paragraph "outline business plan" for £55 million Guildhall shopping centre investment.

Extinction Rebellion UK tour bus outside Exeter City Council's Paris Street offices

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

World car free day ignored in Exeter as Extinction Rebellion challenges council climate inaction

Protestors gathered outside council offices as CEO Karime Hassan posed for photo with construction company development manager at Princesshay promotion.

The Gorge co-living block classic studio room floorplan

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

First Exeter "co-living" block comes on stream with rooms at £946pcm+

Even "affordable" rooms in six storey 133-unit Gladstone Road block would leave many local key workers living below minimum income threshold.

Summerland Street co-living block redevelopment site

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council paves way for 186-bed "co-living" block in Summerland Street

Freedom of information request reveals intended scale of development after executive committee takes decision behind closed doors.

Exeter City Futures Exeter Development Fund presentation slide

COMMENT  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter Development Fund: rent extraction, unaffordable housing and gentrification, but not net zero

Exeter City Futures' private debt-driven Liveable Exeter property development financing scheme is under fire from councillors who say it is based on insufficiently-evidenced assumptions and won't meet Exeter's housing needs.

E3 cycle route Chard Road modal filter

COMMENT  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Exeter cycling & walking strategy five years late and counting

County council soft-pedalling on infrastructure plan which city council says will not form part of new Exeter Local Plan despite Department for Transport guidance.

Recent stories
Exeter City Council government borrowing 2014-2022 bar chart

Council borrowing nearly triples in three years as property acquisitions and development loans mount

Extinction Rebellion UK tour bus outside Exeter City Council's Paris Street offices

World car free day ignored in Exeter as Extinction Rebellion challenges council climate inaction

The Gorge co-living block classic studio room floorplan

First Exeter "co-living" block comes on stream with rooms at £946pcm+

Summerland Street co-living block redevelopment site

Council paves way for 186-bed "co-living" block in Summerland Street

Exeter City Futures Exeter Development Fund presentation slide

Exeter Development Fund: rent extraction, unaffordable housing and gentrification, but not net zero


Help power our public interest journalism

News
The Gorge co-living block classic studio room floorplan

PLANNING & PLACE

First Exeter "co-living" block comes on stream with rooms at £946pcm+

Even "affordable" rooms in six storey 133-unit Gladstone Road block would leave many local key workers living below minimum income threshold.

Summerland Street co-living block redevelopment site

PLANNING & PLACE

Council paves way for 186-bed "co-living" block in Summerland Street

Freedom of information request reveals intended scale of development after executive committee takes decision behind closed doors.

Exeter Article 4 Direction area July 2011 map

PLANNING & PLACE

St. James HMO conversion refusal overturned at appeal

Council failed to provide sufficient evidence to support 2012 planning policy introduced to limit impact of student occupation of residential housing stock.

Analysis
Exeter City Council government borrowing 2014-2022 bar chart

ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Council borrowing nearly triples in three years as property acquisitions and development loans mount

Freedom of information request reveals five paragraph "outline business plan" for £55 million Guildhall shopping centre investment.

Stagecoach app showing Exeter bus service delays and cancellations

TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Bus back better? Exeter services expected to remain unfit for purpose without needed changes

Government underfunding and bus sector challenges limit scope for improvement but county council failure to upgrade routes and policy ambitions plus high housing costs make Exeter difficulties acute, undermining net zero aspirations.

Exeter City Futures website - vision & mission summary

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

University emissions study confirms Net Zero Exeter plan redundancy

Council retains Exeter City Futures' services despite history of delivery failures and lack of capacity to support defined decarbonisation targets.

Comment
Extinction Rebellion UK tour bus outside Exeter City Council's Paris Street offices

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

World car free day ignored in Exeter as Extinction Rebellion challenges council climate inaction

Protestors gathered outside council offices as CEO Karime Hassan posed for photo with construction company development manager at Princesshay promotion.

Exeter City Futures Exeter Development Fund presentation slide

PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter Development Fund: rent extraction, unaffordable housing and gentrification, but not net zero

Exeter City Futures' private debt-driven Liveable Exeter property development financing scheme is under fire from councillors who say it is based on insufficiently-evidenced assumptions and won't meet Exeter's housing needs.

E3 cycle route Chard Road modal filter

TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Exeter cycling & walking strategy five years late and counting

County council soft-pedalling on infrastructure plan which city council says will not form part of new Exeter Local Plan despite Department for Transport guidance.

Notes & sketches
  • Race in pole position

    Exeter Labour looks set to pick Steve Race as the party’s parliamentary candidate at the next general election after retiring incumbent Ben Bradshaw anointed his former assistant as his heir apparent in what has been a fairly safe Labour seat since the 1997 landslide...

    DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

  • Bundling boards

    The third in a series of city council scrutiny meetings intended to satisfy councillors that Exeter Development Fund is a way to put Exeter on the map rather than the council’s financial viability at risk took place last week...

    DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

  • Irrationale by design?

    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...

    PLANNING & PLACE

  • The Exeter Digest

    Exeter Digest #16: Co-living costs - Summerland Street tower - Car free day ignored

    Our essential newsletter also includes a selection of community and culture events and signposts our briefing on the new Exeter Local Plan.

    Exeter Digest #15: Bus back better? - Net zero redundancy - Development fund under fire

    Our bumper holiday newsletter also covers a St. James' HMO appeal, planning enforcement changes, scope 3 emissions failure, cycling and walking strategy delays and property development promotion as community planning participation.

    Exeter Digest #14: Exeter beset - Alphington impacts - Magdalen Road - Community involvement?

    Our essential newsletter also covers continuing Exeter Development Fund scrutiny, missing meetings minutes from Exeter City Futures and Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, Liveable Exeter confusion and local design code reforms.

    On the agenda
    New Exeter Local Plan

    New Exeter local plan draft consultation

    A consultation on the outline draft version of the new Exeter local plan, which will guide development in the city until 2040, is currently taking place.

    All topics

    ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY   AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY   COP26 COP26 COP26   COVID-19 COVID-19 COVID-19   CITYPOINT CITYPOINT CITYPOINT   CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE   CLIMATE CRISIS CLIMATE CRISIS CLIMATE CRISIS   CO-LIVING CO-LIVING CO-LIVING   CONGESTION CONGESTION CONGESTION   COUNCIL TAX COUNCIL TAX COUNCIL TAX   CROWN ESTATE CROWN ESTATE CROWN ESTATE   CYCLING & WALKING CYCLING & WALKING CYCLING & WALKING   DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT   DEVON CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN   DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL   DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND   EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT   EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL   EXETER CITY COUNCIL EXETER CITY COUNCIL EXETER CITY COUNCIL   EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES   EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING   EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE   EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE   EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND   EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION   EXETER LIVE BETTER EXETER LIVE BETTER EXETER LIVE BETTER   EXETER LOCAL PLAN EXETER LOCAL PLAN EXETER LOCAL PLAN   EXETER PHOENIX EXETER PHOENIX EXETER PHOENIX   EXETER PRIDE EXETER PRIDE EXETER PRIDE   EXETER SCIENCE PARK EXETER SCIENCE PARK EXETER SCIENCE PARK   EXETER ST. DAVID'S EXETER ST. DAVID'S EXETER ST. DAVID'S   EXETER TRANSPORT STRATEGY EXETER TRANSPORT STRATEGY EXETER TRANSPORT STRATEGY   EXETER CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE   FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FREEDOM OF INFORMATION   FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER   GENERAL ELECTIONS GENERAL ELECTIONS GENERAL ELECTIONS   GUILDHALL GUILDHALL GUILDHALL   HARLEQUINS HARLEQUINS HARLEQUINS   HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP   HOUSING CRISIS HOUSING CRISIS HOUSING CRISIS   LGBTQIA+ LGBTQIA+ LGBTQIA+   LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD   LIVEABLE EXETER LIVEABLE EXETER LIVEABLE EXETER   LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY   LOCAL ELECTIONS LOCAL ELECTIONS LOCAL ELECTIONS   MAKETANK MAKETANK MAKETANK   MARSH BARTON MARSH BARTON MARSH BARTON   MET OFFICE MET OFFICE MET OFFICE   MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER   NORTHERNHAY GARDENS NORTHERNHAY GARDENS NORTHERNHAY GARDENS   OXYGEN HOUSE OXYGEN HOUSE OXYGEN HOUSE   PARIS STREET PARIS STREET PARIS STREET   PARKING PARKING PARKING   PENINSULA TRANSPORT PENINSULA TRANSPORT PENINSULA TRANSPORT   PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY   PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY   PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT   PUBLIC CONSULTATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION   PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH   PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM   PUBLIC TRANSPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORT   RAMM RAMM RAMM   REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING   RETROFIT RETROFIT RETROFIT   RIVERSIDE VALLEY PARK RIVERSIDE VALLEY PARK RIVERSIDE VALLEY PARK   ROYAL DEVON & EXETER NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON & EXETER NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON & EXETER NHS TRUST   SIDWELL STREET SIDWELL STREET SIDWELL STREET   SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION   SOUTH WEST WATER SOUTH WEST WATER SOUTH WEST WATER   SOUTHERNHAY SOUTHERNHAY SOUTHERNHAY   SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT   ST. SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE ST. SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE ST. SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE   ST. SIDWELL'S POINT ST. SIDWELL'S POINT ST. SIDWELL'S POINT   STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST   STUDENT ACCOMMODATION STUDENT ACCOMMODATION STUDENT ACCOMMODATION   TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL   UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER  

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