Exeter Observer contributors

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.


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.

Recent stories
Exeter City Futures Exeter Development Fund presentation slide

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

E3 cycle route Chard Road modal filter

Exeter cycling & walking strategy five years late and counting

Liveable Exeter community engagement with council development director Ian Collinson

Property development promotion as community planning participation

Exeter Article 4 Direction area July 2011 map

St. James HMO conversion refusal overturned at appeal

Stagecoach app showing Exeter bus service delays and cancellations

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

Stories with Leigh Curtis
  • SATURDAY 30 JULY 2022

    Sidwella day celebration

    Devon Voice Group is co-hosting a celebration of Exeter's patron saint, the city's heritage and Devonian culture and dialect.

    ST. SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE

  • SATURDAY 30 JULY 2022

    Phonic Fest 2022

    Exeter Phoenix is hosting a day of live music from local artists plus DJs to raise money for Phonic FM, Exeter's community radio station.

    EXETER PHOENIX

  • SATURDAY 9 JULY 2022

    Kidical Mass returns to Exeter in July

    Kidical Mass Exeter is holding its second family bike ride and picnic as part of an ongoing global campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

    BELMONT PARK

  • MONDAY 27 JUNE 2022

    PRISM Exeter Pride month queer science celebration

    Devon network champions LGBTQIA+ STEMM contributors and the impact they have had on young people in queer science competition.

    UNIVERSITY OF EXETER

  • Magdalen Road public consultation results option preferences bar chart

    ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

    £900,000 to keep Magdalen Road one-way system despite decisive public support for low traffic street

    County council misrepresented and omitted key public consultation findings in report and did not publish results until after decision taken in favour of option with only 18% public support. Exeter Observer snapshot survey finds 90%+ motor vehicles passing shops are through traffic.

  • SUNDAY 5 JUNE 2022

    The Big Spork! Poetry Picnic

    Spork! is holding an interactive family-friendly indoor poetry and music workshop on picnic blankets.

    EXETER PHOENIX

  • TUESDAY 24 MAY 2022

    The Shadow: a Devon for Ukraine fundraiser

    Soviet playwright Evgengy Schwartz' poetic and philosophical retelling of a Hans Christian Anderson tale is a subversive fable about choices we make for social and political gain and for love.

    MAKETANK

  • SUNDAY 24 JULY 2022

    Cast A Sheep's Eye: 16th and 17th century love songs

    Joe Levy and Konstantinos Terzakis perform Renaissance and Baroque music by Purcell, Dowland, Morley and others in a series of concerts in historic buildings.

    ST. LAWRENCE CHAPEL

  • SUNDAY 26 JUNE 2022

    Sound Walks with Emma Welton

    Musician and sound artist Emma Welton is leading a series of Sunday afternoon sound walks as part of Exeter Dream Festival.

    CYGNET THEATRE

  • SATURDAY 21 MAY 2022

    Marsyas Quartet: Dreaming in Sound

    Marsyas Quartet plays music by Mozart, Bach, Andrew M. Wilson, Judith Weir and Sungji Hong as part of The New Season Series and Exeter Dream Festival.

    ST. NICHOLAS PRIORY

  • SUNDAY 15 MAY 2022

    Kidical Mass comes to Exeter

    Kidical Mass Exeter is holding its first family bike ride and picnic as part of a global campaign for safe cycling routes for children, young people and families.

    BELMONT PARK

  • SATURDAY 11-SUNDAY 12 JUNE 2022

    Exeter Respect Festival 2022

    Exeter Respect Festival returns to Belmont Park for its 25th anniversary with live music and performance, food stalls, campaigners and community groups.

    BELMONT PARK

  • SATURDAY 14 MAY 2022

    Exeter Pride 2022

    Exeter Pride returns for an in-person celebration of LGBTQIA+ diversity and visibility after moving online in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    NORTHERNHAY GARDENS

  • SUNDAY 8 MAY 2022

    Fore Street Flea

    Fore Street Flea market returns for an Exeter Pride-themed special event.

    FORE STREET

  • TUESDAY 19-SATURDAY 23 APRIL 2022

    Turn Up The Volume at Green Phoenix

    A week of climate crisis-focussed concerts, talks and training orchestrated by Music Declares Emergency with Climate EQ, A Quiet Night In and Music is Murder.

    EXETER PHOENIX

  • FRIDAY 22 APRIL 2022

    A Quiet Night In

    The ensemble's thirteenth exploration of the creative possibilities of quiet contemporary music in quiet spaces will take place on Earth Day as part of a week of climate change awareness events.

    EXETER PHOENIX

  • WEDNESDAY 27 APRIL 2022

    Climate Science and Creativity

    Quay Words' spring writer-in-residence Ellen Wiles hosts a discussion between Devon writers and scientists about the ways they address the climate crisis in their work.

    EXETER CUSTOM HOUSE

  • SUNDAY 8 MAY 2022

    Traditional Italian music and dance

    La Tarantella and the Italian Cultural Association are holding a workshop exploring the folk traditions of Southern Italy in music, dance and song.

    ST JAMES' CHURCH

  • Protestors hold Devon County Council stop funding fossil fuel companies banner in Bedford Square

    ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    County council doubles down on pension fund divestment position

    Devon Pension Fund remains committed to fossil fuel investment despite increasingly untenable pension fund committee position that relies on unfounded shareholder influence claims and failure to understand sector position and plans.

    GALLERY  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    Exeter activists criticise corporate climate crisis claims with city centre bus shelter subvertising

    As the 2021 United Nations climate change conference (COP26) begins in Glasgow, activists post parody bus shelter adverts aimed at corporate greenwashing in Exeter city centre.

    GALLERY  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    Exeter climate campaigners protest at £157 million Devon Pension Fund fossil fuel investment

    Fridays for Future Exeter led a march through the city to County Hall where demonstrators called on Devon County Council to divest the local public sector pension scheme it manages from fossil fuels.

    Extinction Rebellion climate activist Imogen May

    NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    Environmental activist Imogen May defiant after second liability order for non-payment of council tax

    Extinction Rebellion demonstrated at Exeter Law Courts in support of Crediton lone parent who has withheld council tax for two years in protest over government climate crisis inaction.

    Empty retail units at The Depot Purpose Built Student Accommodation block on Cheeke Street in Exeter

    NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

    Developer plans to convert retail units in Exeter city centre block to additional student bedrooms

    Conversion of five of eleven shop/leisure units at The Depot on Cheeke Street would add nineteen rooms to existing 715 bedrooms in monolithic PBSA.

    Train at Okehampton Station in 2015

    NEWS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

    Okehampton to Exeter "Dartmoor Line" passenger rail service reinstatement confirmed

    £40 million Department for Transport "Restoring your Railway" funding to enable trains every two hours by end of this year, with plans to increase to hourly service during 2022. Stakeholders combine to get South West infrastructure needs onto Whitehall agenda.

    Exeter Princesshay Debenhams closing down sale

    NEWS  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

    Top floor of former Debenhams store to be converted into cinema

    Princesshay owner's proposals for change of use to four screen cinema and cafe/bar have been under discussion since November 2019.

    Clydesdale and Birks development illustrative view

    NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

    University plans to demolish 30 buildings to construct ~50,000m2 of new student accommodation

    Permission sought for 1,250 new bedrooms on fifteen acre Streatham campus Clydesdale and Birks development site, half as large again as 1,200 bedroom East Park development.

    Longbrook Street student accommodation development site King Billy public house

    NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

    Renewed permission sought for Longbrook Street student block

    Developers are seeking to renew previously-granted planning permission for an eight storey 108-bed student accommodation block on the site of the King Billy public house.

    Exeter Global Climate Strike Bedford Street crowd

    NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    Thousands march in Exeter for global climate strike as millions mobilise worldwide

    Fridays for Future Exeter led 3500 people on a climate crisis demonstration through the city backed by dozens of organisations on the eve of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

    Preston Street Union present SERGE/SURGE at Cricklepit Mill

    NEWS  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

    Preston Street Union rolls out the red carpet

    The Exeter-based artists explore migration driven by the city's historic wool trade in new work commissioned by RAMM.

  • SATURDAY 30 MARCH-SUNDAY 2 JUNE 2019

    Extreme Imagination - Inside the Mind's Eye

    University of Exeter research fellow Dr Matthew MacKisack guides us through a RAMM exhibition that explores works by artists, writers and makers with widely varying visual imaginations.

    RAMM

  • Kaleider Mikrofest Our Dancing Shadows in Exeter Princesshay

    NEWS  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

    Out of sight, out of mind

    A performance of From The Light of The Fire, Our Dancing Shadows in Exeter for Kaleider Mikrofest appears to favour illusion over truth in a confused rendering of Plato's cave allegory that leaves both performers and audience in the dark.


    Help power our public interest journalism

    News
    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.

    Monkerton masterplan map

    PLANNING & PLACE

    Progressive Group planning enforcement proposal adopted despite public Labour rejection

    Newly-published register also reveals council has issued as many planning enforcement notices in the past three months as it has in the past three years.

    Exeter Statement of Community Involvement cover

    PLANNING & PLACE

    Council rejects calls for greater community involvement in Exeter planning policy and decisions

    Council defends existing approach despite Statement of Community Involvement consultation producing just 17 responses, and won't do more to promote neighbourhood planning despite prospect of enhanced community powers.

    Analysis
    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.

    Greenhouse gas protocol for cities - sources and boundaries of city greenhouse gas emissions (scale)

    CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

    Exeter greenhouse gas report disregards hundreds of thousands of tonnes of annual city emissions

    Restricted scope of study misrepresents scale of city's impact to produce partial decarbonisation targets while ignoring opportunities to reduce emissions imported by residents, businesses and visitors, guaranteeing net zero failure.

    Comment
    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.

    Liveable Exeter community engagement with council development director Ian Collinson

    PLANNING & PLACE

    Property development promotion as community planning participation

    If the Liveable Exeter property development scheme and its Exeter Development Fund financing vehicle are already intended to "anchor and underpin" the new Exeter Local Plan, what will public consultation on the plan decide?

    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 #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.

    Exeter Digest #13: Flowerpot Playing Fields under threat - Scrutiny circumvention continues - Kidical Mass rides into town

    Our thirteenth newsletter also covers city council spending on Instagram influencers, museum-fronted property development promotion, reports on local democracy and the role of councils in climate action and a government inquiry into the sustainability of local journalism.

    On the agenda
    New Exeter Local Plan

    New Exeter Local Plan draft consultation

    A consultation on the draft version of the new Exeter Local Plan, which will guide development in the city until 2040, is taking place this autumn.

    All topics

    ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY   AFFORDABILITY AFFORDABILITY AFFORDABILITY   AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY   ALPHINGTON & COWICK ALPHINGTON & COWICK ALPHINGTON & COWICK   ALPHINGTON ALPHINGTON ALPHINGTON   BONHAY MEADOWS BONHAY MEADOWS BONHAY MEADOWS   CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE   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 & CORNWALL POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER   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   DURYARD & ST. JAMES DURYARD & ST. JAMES DURYARD & ST. JAMES   EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT   EXETER CANAL AND QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL AND QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL AND QUAY TRUST   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 CIVIC SOCIETY EXETER CIVIC SOCIETY EXETER CIVIC SOCIETY   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   EXWICK EXWICK EXWICK   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   HEAVITREE & WHIPTON BARTON HEAVITREE & WHIPTON BARTON HEAVITREE & WHIPTON BARTON   HEAVITREE HEAVITREE HEAVITREE   HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION   HOUSING HOUSING HOUSING   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   MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON   NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER   NEWTOWN & ST. LEONARD'S NEWTOWN & ST. LEONARD'S NEWTOWN & ST. LEONARD'S   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   PENNSYLVANIA PENNSYLVANIA PENNSYLVANIA   PINHOE PINHOE PINHOE   PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY   PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY   PRIORY PRIORY PRIORY   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   PURPOSE BUILT STUDENT ACCOMMODATION PURPOSE BUILT STUDENT ACCOMMODATION PURPOSE BUILT STUDENT ACCOMMODATION   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. DAVID'S & HAVEN BANKS ST. DAVID'S & HAVEN BANKS ST. DAVID'S & HAVEN BANKS   ST. DAVID'S ST. DAVID'S ST. DAVID'S   ST. LOYE'S ST. LOYE'S ST. LOYE'S   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   ST. THOMAS ST. THOMAS ST. THOMAS   STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST   TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL   TOPSHAM TOPSHAM TOPSHAM   UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER  

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