Contributors

Exeter Observer is owned and managed, researched and written, designed and developed, produced and promoted by people who share a mission to deliver in-depth articles and investigative journalism rooted in community interest with real relevance and impact.

We are editorially and financially independent, which means we produce and distribute our content without political or commercial bias.

We observe industry best-practice principles, are fully regulated, and aim to inform and empower our readers, strengthening civil society and helping people participate more effectively in local democracy.

Martin Redfern

Martin Redfern is managing editor of Exeter Observer and a director of its publisher Greater Exeter CIC.

He has 25 years’ experience working with public and private sector organisations in multi-stakeholder contexts to achieve social change goals.

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.


Stories written by
Martin Redfern
Department for Transport New Road Layout for Social Distancing coronavirus road sign

Analysis  ⁄  Transport & mobility

Coronavirus exposes council failure to deliver Exeter transport plans

Devon County Council's failure to deliver overdue Exeter transport strategy and cycling and walking plan has led to an inadequate response to government demands for emergency coronavirus road layout changes.

Read more ...

Exeter Cathedral and Quay car park top deck

News  ⁄  Transport & mobility

Coronavirus halts decision to spend £3.9 million on car park repairs and upgrade

Exeter City Council spending plans will be revisited in June at same time as Net Zero Exeter carbon reduction plan is discussed by Executive.

Read more ...

Pulling Road Pinhoe Exeter zero carbon housing development site plan

Analysis  ⁄  Planning & place

Exeter's first "zero carbon" housing development includes 96 car parking spaces for 40 homes

Exeter City Council has approved plans to develop land at Pinhoe with a parking ratio of 2.4 cars per household as part of an "exemplar scheme for future residential development in the city" while accepting that zero carbon construction comes "at a cost to the provision of affordable housing".

Read more ...

Cranbrook town centre development site empty plots

News  ⁄  Planning & place

Cranbrook town centre community building application submitted

Devon County Council is to develop new town centre facilities including a children's centre with public health nursing provision, youth centre with indoor and outdoor recreational spaces and library with small café.

Read more ...

Exeter Princesshay deserted under COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown

News  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Exeter City Council announces £1.584m April budget shortfall caused by COVID-19 restrictions

Council revenues have fallen dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting a £6.357 million capital spending deferment. But financial support from government has so far been limited.

Read more ...

Small retail businesses on Paris Street, Exeter

News  ⁄  Economy & enterprise

Half of COVID-19 support grants unclaimed by Exeter businesses

Exeter City Council in bottom third of local authorities as only 45% of eligible local businesses claim government coronavirus support money.

Read more ...

2019 parliamentary elections - Devon Conservative vote share change bar chart

Analysis  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Conservative vote share varies across Devon but still blocks an Independent MP in East Devon

Labour loses vote share in every constituency, but retains Exeter and Plymouth Sutton & Devonport to leave the county position unchanged from 2017.

Read more ...

Exeter election polling station

News  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Conservatives hold Topsham in Exeter city council by-election

A by-election held on general election day produced an unusually high turnout but a lower Conservative vote share than at the May local elections.

Read more ...

East Devon Independent Claire Wright 2019 general election candidate

Analysis  ⁄  Democracy & governance

East Devon Independent Claire Wright set to unite Remain voters in close historic two-way contest

Claire Wright is poised to make history by beating the Tories in East Devon next week. If she does it will be without thanks to the LibDems and Greens, who insisted on standing candidates against her despite the preferences of local party members and the Unite to Remain campaign.

Read more ...

Striking University of Exeter history lecturers Dr Jennifer Farrell and Dr Gemma Clark

News  ⁄  Education & skills

University of Exeter staff strike over pay, pensions and working conditions

The Exeter branch of the University & College Union (UCU) is taking part in a national eight day strike for fair pay and pensions, including equal pay for female and BAME staff, and against casualisation and increasing workloads.

Read more ...

Exeter Global Climate Strike demonstrator holding placard

Analysis  ⁄  Climate & environment

Exeter youth climate strikers launch Green New Deal for Devon

Fridays For Future Exeter have published a detailed vision of a more equitable future that calls on elected representatives across the county to recognise the climate crisis as a symptom of a dysfunctional political economy.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

Rhian Keyse speaking at Exeter UCU's anti-casualisation campaign launch

News  ⁄  Education & skills

Education union challenges university to address widespread casualisation of teaching staff

Exeter University & College Union (UCU) launched an anti-casualisation campaign on Friday as a prelude to negotiation with the University of Exeter over academic staff contracts.

Read more ...

Exeter Extinction Rebellion funeral march climate crisis High Street

News  ⁄  Climate & environment

Mock funeral march brings Exeter city centre to a sombre standstill

Extinction Rebellion campaigners brought the gravity of the ecological emergency home to Exeter on Saturday in a funereal procession commemorating wildlife loss caused by climate change.

Read more ...

Dutch living streets woonerf sign

Analysis  ⁄  Transport & mobility

We already know what to do about the climate crisis. We must get on with doing it as fast as we can.

Exeter and Devon council leaders must begin rapid regional decarbonisation now. The quickest, cheapest way to cut emissions in Exeter is to deter combustion engines from entering the city. Clean air legislation offers a basis for action.

Read more ...

Molly Scott Cato at the European Parliament

Profile  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Is EU membership essential to our ability to deal with the climate emergency?

Molly Scott Cato, Green Party MEP for the South West, visited Exeter during her re-election campaign to explain why the EU and its Green Group is leading the way on a wide range of progressive policies.

Read more ...

Front elevations of proposed development at Mount Radford Lawn

Analysis  ⁄  Planning & place

Mount Radford Lawn development proposals conflict with St Leonards community vision

Exeter Deaf Academy hopes to sell a school playing field to developers who plan to build luxury homes. Local residents have other ideas about how best to use the land. A dispute is looming over an historic green space driven by prospective profit from planning gain.

Read more ...

Rainbow Trail LGBTQIA+ exhibition queers RAMM for Exeter Pride 2019

Preview  ⁄  Arts & culture

Rainbow Trail LGBTQIA+ exhibition queers RAMM for Exeter Pride 2019

A new collaboration between X-Plore Youth Devon, Exeter College LGBTQ+ society, Natalie McGrath of Dreadnought SW and Dr Jana Funke of the University of Exeter explores gender and sexual diversity across time, place and culture by reimagining objects from the RAMM collections.

Read more ...

Exeter City Council city centre wards map

News  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Exeter Labour loses local elections in all three city centre wards

Voters in Exeter yesterday elected three new councillors to represent them in the key wards that cover the city centre, with all the city's ruling Exeter Labour group candidates missing out despite the party's confident campaign.

Read more ...

Jemima Moore campaigning in Exeter local elections

Profile  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Local resident stands as independent candidate in Exeter elections

Jemima Moore is a 36 year-old part-time primary school teacher and mother of two young children with little political experience. So why has she decided to stand for election to Exeter City Council on 2 May?

Read more ...

Extinction Rebellion climate emergency protesters in Exeter Guildhall shopping centre

News  ⁄  Climate & environment

Exeter Extinction Rebellion stages climate emergency protest

Today around 70 people joined the Exeter branch of Extinction Rebellion on the city's streets to demand urgent action to minimise the risk of catastrophic impacts from climate change.

Read more ...

Exeter St James period housing stock

Comment  ⁄  Planning & place

Exeter St James regeneration

How can the supply of low-cost, incrementally investable city centre accommodation be stimulated to attract and retain creative, technically-skilled young entrepreneurial talent?

Read more ...

Historic Exe Bridge traffic

Comment  ⁄  Transport & mobility

Streets are for people, not cars

Cars adversely affect economic output, air quality and wellbeing, take up valuable space when parked and discourage people from walking and cycling when driven. Reducing their use would enhance Exeter's retail and leisure offer, improve public health and attract needed workers to the city.

Read more ...


Stories with photography by
Martin Redfern
Exeter election polling station

News  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Conservatives hold Topsham in Exeter city council by-election

A by-election held on general election day produced an unusually high turnout but a lower Conservative vote share than at the May local elections.

Read more ...

Exeter Global Climate Strike demonstrator holding placard

Analysis  ⁄  Climate & environment

Exeter youth climate strikers launch Green New Deal for Devon

Fridays For Future Exeter have published a detailed vision of a more equitable future that calls on elected representatives across the county to recognise the climate crisis as a symptom of a dysfunctional political economy.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

Exeter Extinction Rebellion funeral march climate crisis High Street

News  ⁄  Climate & environment

Mock funeral march brings Exeter city centre to a sombre standstill

Extinction Rebellion campaigners brought the gravity of the ecological emergency home to Exeter on Saturday in a funereal procession commemorating wildlife loss caused by climate change.

Read more ...

Exeter City Council public toilet closures Exeter Live Better hoarding

Comment  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Exeter could do better - was there no alternative to closing so many public toilets?

Exeter City Council did not need to close thirteen public toilets to balance the books. The money to keep them open was available in reserves, but no mention of this option was made during public decision-making by councillors or officers.

Read more ...

Dutch living streets woonerf sign

Analysis  ⁄  Transport & mobility

We already know what to do about the climate crisis. We must get on with doing it as fast as we can.

Exeter and Devon council leaders must begin rapid regional decarbonisation now. The quickest, cheapest way to cut emissions in Exeter is to deter combustion engines from entering the city. Clean air legislation offers a basis for action.

Read more ...

Exeter Youth Strike 4 Climate protestors with banner

Comment  ⁄  Climate & environment

Exeter Youth Strike 4 Climate - the floodgates are open

Exeter is one of the smallest cities in Britain, yet it has produced some of the country's biggest youth strikes. Climate activist Sophie Sleeman recounts the story so far and explains what it means to the young people who are creating a global wave of change.

Read more ...

Front elevations of proposed development at Mount Radford Lawn

Analysis  ⁄  Planning & place

Mount Radford Lawn development proposals conflict with St Leonards community vision

Exeter Deaf Academy hopes to sell a school playing field to developers who plan to build luxury homes. Local residents have other ideas about how best to use the land. A dispute is looming over an historic green space driven by prospective profit from planning gain.

Read more ...

Extinction Rebellion climate emergency protesters in Exeter Guildhall shopping centre

News  ⁄  Climate & environment

Exeter Extinction Rebellion stages climate emergency protest

Today around 70 people joined the Exeter branch of Extinction Rebellion on the city's streets to demand urgent action to minimise the risk of catastrophic impacts from climate change.

Read more ...

Kaleider Mikrofest Our Dancing Shadows in Exeter Princesshay

Review  ⁄  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.

Read more ...


Galleries with photography by
Martin Redfern

Other contributors

Beth Pratt

Beth Pratt has a background in environmental science, geography and photography and hopes to study journalism at university at the end of the year.

She studied classical ballet at The Royal Ballet School for three years then continued to dance with Exeter Youth Contemporary Dance Company when she moved back to Devon.

Through her experience of the dance world Beth has become increasingly passionate about mental health and wellbeing in young people.

Bethany Collins

Bethany Collins is a politics student at the University of Exeter hoping to specialise in public policy.

She has lived in East Devon for most of her life, and has a keen interest in local government. She has been actively involved in campaigning with independent parliamentary candidate Claire Wright.

Since starting her degree she has engaged with the university LGBTQ+ society and has a strong passion for climate activism.

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.

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

@chris_musgrave

Daniel Clark

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

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

He is also a Soccer Sight commentator at Exeter City FC.

@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.

More information is available on Freya’s Met Office profile.

@freyagarry

Jake Lloyd

Jake Lloyd is a communications consultant who works with charities and social enterprises that have a focus on community building.

He also produces and presents the How To Build Community podcast and radio show, and enjoys writing on the subjects of community, nature, faith and communications.

Jake’s background is in BBC News, where he spent almost ten years in both television and radio. For most of that time he was a Studio Director at BBC Radio 4, 5 Live and the World Service, covering major global news stories from the Arab Spring to the Olympics.

@MrJakeLloyd

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 local, independent businesses since moving to Exeter five years ago, and has become increasingly involved in climate activism.

Laura is a keen cyclist, ornithologist and part-time DJ, playing at Exeter Pride the past two years.

Leigh Curtis

Leigh Curtis is arts & culture editor of Exeter Observer and a director of its publisher Greater Exeter CIC.

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

Leonore Zutter

Leonore Zutter is a student of English law and French law at the University of Exeter who spends more time rallying and protesting government inaction on climate change than in the library.

As a climate activist she is specifically involved in youth politics surrounding the climate crisis and climate litigation.

Leonore is originally from Switzerland and Germany and grew up in Australia. She hopes to one day help work on a stronger government plan to tackle the climate crisis.

@l_zutter97

Mike Myshko

Mike Myshko is a filmmaker, 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 Amazon, he is now looking to develop personal projects focussed on environmental issues, democracy and minority voices.

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

More information is available on his website.

@heymyshko

Moragh Mason

Moragh Mason is a researcher and contributing writer for Exeter Observer.

She has a background in the public sector in a variety of roles. The ones she enjoyed most involved investigation and report writing.

Since escaping the world of work she continues to put those skills to good use. She is concerned about the loss of green space in Exeter and is 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

Peter Cleasby

Peter Cleasby is contributing editor of Exeter Observer and a director of its publisher Greater Exeter CIC.

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.

Today, he has escaped from the boardroom and works - unpaid, of course - as a watch-keeper at Exmouth Coastwatch, research officer for Exeter Green Party, lay member of a research ethics committee at Exeter University, occasional blogger, campaigner for openness in public life, and doing any other interesting odd jobs that crop up from time to time.

@Peter_Cleasby

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.

Sophie Sleeman

Sophie Sleeman is a seventeen-year-old climate activist, writer and student at Exeter College.

She works with the UK Student Climate Network to mobilise the Youth Strike 4 Climate movement and has recently been published in The Guardian, The Ecologist, The Big Issue and Open Democracy.

She also enjoys climbing on Dartmoor and writing poetry.

@sleemansophie

Vanessa Miles

Vanessa Miles is a portrait, editorial and events photographer and has been a photography tutor at Exeter Phoenix since 2013.

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.

More information is available on her website.


Exeter Observer is published by Greater Exeter CIC, a non-profit community interest company limited by guarantee, registration number 10711812.

Recent stories
Department for Transport New Road Layout for Social Distancing coronavirus road sign

Analysis  ⁄  Transport & mobility

Coronavirus exposes council failure to deliver Exeter transport plans

Devon County Council's failure to deliver overdue Exeter transport strategy and cycling and walking plan has led to an inadequate response to government demands for emergency coronavirus road layout changes.

Read more ...

Exeter Cathedral and Quay car park top deck

News  ⁄  Transport & mobility

Coronavirus halts decision to spend £3.9 million on car park repairs and upgrade

Exeter City Council spending plans will be revisited in June at same time as Net Zero Exeter carbon reduction plan is discussed by Executive.

Read more ...

Pulling Road Pinhoe Exeter zero carbon housing development site plan

Analysis  ⁄  Planning & place

Exeter's first "zero carbon" housing development includes 96 car parking spaces for 40 homes

Exeter City Council has approved plans to develop land at Pinhoe with a parking ratio of 2.4 cars per household as part of an "exemplar scheme for future residential development in the city" while accepting that zero carbon construction comes "at a cost to the provision of affordable housing".

Read more ...

Cranbrook town centre development site empty plots

News  ⁄  Planning & place

Cranbrook town centre community building application submitted

Devon County Council is to develop new town centre facilities including a children's centre with public health nursing provision, youth centre with indoor and outdoor recreational spaces and library with small café.

Read more ...

Exeter Princesshay deserted under COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown

News  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Exeter City Council announces £1.584m April budget shortfall caused by COVID-19 restrictions

Council revenues have fallen dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting a £6.357 million capital spending deferment. But financial support from government has so far been limited.

Read more ...