The Exeter Digest

Exeter Digest #48: Auditor broadens inquiry - Victoria Street co-living - SEND deficit deal

As the 2024 local election campaigns get under way we invite readers to help us hold Exeter's politicians to account, plus community and culture highlights including Italian Liberation Day, Bloom Festival and Pint of Science.

Exeter Digest #47: Devon devolution - Station access - Wonford hub - Bus corridors

Upcoming community and culture highlights include Library Lates, City Slam and Kidical Mass.

Exeter Digest #46: Southgate SoS - County council cuts - Stagecoach SW losses

Upcoming community and culture highlights include Topsham Music Festival and St Petrock's Big Night Out.

Exeter Digest #45: Empty Gorge - Liveable Exeter charter - Spruce Close approval - King Billy redesign

Upcoming community and culture highlights include this year's International Women's Festival and the return of Library Lates.

Exeter Digest #44: St Bridget Nurseries judicial review - Heavitree Road appeal - Allotment fees consultation

Upcoming community and culture highlights include a festival of children's stories at Emmanuel Hall and a short film festival at Exeter Phoenix.

Exeter Digest #43: Electric vehicle charging strategy - Liveable Exeter garden city branding

Our first edition of 2024 also includes a selection of community and culture events.

Exeter Digest #42: Scrutiny Programme Board special report

Our year end edition also includes other local news that matters plus a selection of musical events for New Year's Eve and Twelfth Night.

Exeter Digest #41: Clifton Hill & Mary Arches discounts - King Billy upended - Bus service cuts - St Luke's redevelopment

Our top stories plus other news with curated cultural Christmas crackers including events at Exeter Custom House and the cathedral.

Exeter Digest #40: University social mobility rankings - Vacant and empty second homes

Our top stories plus other news with curated community events including St Thomas winter market and Sunday at Studio 36.

Exeter Digest #39: Maketank closure - LTN consultation restart - Seabrook Orchards

Our top stories plus local planning policy in focus and community events including The Big Exeter Feast and Reclaim the Night 2023.

Exeter Digest #38: Devon transport spending - Exeter employment rate - University fossil fuel financing

Our top stories plus local news that matters, planning updates and a bumper selection of curated community and culture events.

Exeter Digest #37: Exeter City Living special report

Our latest edition also includes curated culture events and a River Exe community run photo gallery.

Exeter Digest #36: Co-Cars liquidation - Royal Clarence Hotel rebuild - Hospital strike

Our top stories plus local news that matters with planning updates, public consultations and curated community and culture events.

Exeter Digest #35: The Gorge co-living rent levels - Exeland House flood risks revision - Wellbeing Exeter funding cut

Our top stories plus local news that matters with planning updates, public consultations and curated community and culture events.

Exeter Digest #34: Howell Road garages - Home Office fail - St James co-living block - CIL charges - Water Lane plans - Just Stop Oil

Our top stories plus local news that matters with planning updates, public consultations and curated community and culture events.

Exeter Digest #33: Duryard Valley solar farm - Climate Action Hub under threat

Our top stories plus local news that matters with public consultations, planning updates and three days of theatre in the park.

Exeter Digest #32: County Hall cuts homelessness support - Stagecoach stuck in traffic

Our top stories plus local news that matters with exhibitions, consultations and planning applications and local art, film and music.

Exeter Digest #31: Leisure services overspend - Water Lane site access

Last chance to invest in our community share offer plus our top stories, Exeter In Brief, a major planning policy consultation and a selection of curated community events.

Exeter Digest #30: Student accommodation consultation - SEND children's services - County Hall secrecy

Our community share offer enters its final fortnight plus top stories, news in brief, public consultations and community events.

Exeter Digest #29: Councillor conduct code breach - University comes clean on student numbers - Labour committee chairs

Invest in local news that matters by buying community shares in Exeter Observer then catch up with our top stories, the news in brief, ongoing public consultations and Exeter community events.

Exeter Digest #28: Exeter election results - Council leader code conflicts - Community grants cuts redux

Read all about the 2023 Exeter local elections in our in-depth analysis then check out Maketank's Make Your Own Book festival and a retelling of Romeo and Juliet at Poltimore House.

Exeter Digest #27: County governance failings - Local elections guide - Duryard double standard - Councillor attendance

Invest in local news that matters by buying community shares in Exeter Observer then help us hold the city's political parties to account during the local elections, catch up with the news in brief and browse Exeter events.

Exeter Digest #26: Food policy red herring - Homelessness services cuts

Help publish the independent journalism Exeter needs by buying community shares in Exeter Observer then catch up with the news in brief and help us monitor the local elections by sending us any campaign materials you receive.

Exeter Digest #25: Economic activity levels decline - Doors close on Devon bus decisions

Catch up with the news in brief, survey local development plans and consultations and have your say on Exeter Observer's plans to cover more of what matters and help the city's cultural and community life to thrive.

Exeter Digest #24: Community grants slashed - Council decision-making damaging local democracy

Catch up with Exeter In Brief, survey upcoming development plans, respond to ongoing consultations and take your pick from a selection of local events.

Exeter Digest #23: Devon children's services failings - Exeter empty and second homes

Get up to speed with our new Exeter In Brief coverage, find out about ongoing local consultations and get ready to celebrate Phonic FM's 15th birthday.

Exeter Digest #22: Community infrastructure levy review - Student numbers - County council spending

The first edition of 2023 also introduces our new Exeter In Brief section and trails PRISM Exeter LGBTQIA+ speakers, a free documentary film screening and Exeter's first seed swap.

Exeter Digest #21: Greener grass? - Council lottery - EDF secrecy - £2.2 million ECL loss

A bumper festive holiday edition also covers the nurses strike, South West Water's 'sustained poor performance' and the university's gender pay gap plus a Community Infrastructure Levy consultation.

Exeter Digest #20: ICO investigates university - Stagecoach escapes - University strike - Roads dominate Devon transport spending

Our essential newsletter also covers three ongoing public consultations plus an original play by Exeter Drama Company, traditional festive music by candlelight and poetry, comedy and live carols for Christmas.

Exeter Digest #19: Reclaim the Night - West Park - Climate Action Hub - Active travel - Boundary changes

Our essential newsletter also covers three ongoing public consultations plus a showcase of local spoken word talent, a film screening and discussion on the cost of living and climate crises and the return of St Leonard's Christmas Fair.

Exeter Digest #18: University student numbers - Stagecoach public inquiry - Heavitree Road PBSA/co-living complex

Our essential newsletter also covers a new digital map of the city, the return of St Thomas winter market and a Refugee Support Devon fundraiser.

Exeter Digest #17: Haven Banks redevelopment - Liveable Exeter investment zones - Council borrowing

Our essential newsletter also includes a curated selection of community and culture events and a new Exeter Local Plan consultation briefing.

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.

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.

Exeter Digest #12: Local elections special

Our twelfth newsletter also covers Devon Carbon Plan procrastination, hot air on the buses, county council transport insights and the continuing Exeter Development Fund scrutiny saga.

Exeter Digest #11: Council decisions under scrutiny - Ukrainian refugee hub - Student HMOs taking over

Our eleventh newsletter also covers the city council's Devon climate assembly response, £144k Levelling Up delivery jobs and Exeter Development Fund scrutiny.

Exeter Digest #10: Exeter City Futures secondments - Overseas property ownership - Net Zero Exeter plan found wanting

Our tenth newsletter also covers urban sprawl on Exeter's periphery, boundary commission hearings, Devon devolution dealings and the Levelling Up white paper.

Exeter Digest #9: Pennsylvania petitioners - Devon Pension Fund - University social mobility - Harlequins fate sealed

Our ninth newsletter is a bumper edition providing plenty of independent public interest journalism to keep you company on long midwinter evenings.

Exeter Digest #8: Exeter carbon budget - Electric vehicles are not the answer - COP-EXE climate showcase - Bus shelter subvertising

In our eighth newsletter, a COP26 special, we review recent climate and environment stories, take a tour through some local winners and losers and present our pick of recent locally-focussed decarbonisation policy analysis.

Exeter Digest #7: CityPoint pop-ups reprieve - When is a PBSA not a PBSA? - Greta tells it like it is

In our seventh newsletter we review recent key stories, round up the news in brief and highlight think tank ideas for 'community-powered conservatism' and how to deliver for real housing need.

Exeter Digest #6: Liveable Exeter Place Board double bill - Scrutiny under scrutiny - Catastrophic climate change or cake?

In the sixth edition of our newsletter we review key stories from the past few weeks, get some perspective on our predicament and find some unlikely claims on a local Labour leaflet.

Exeter Digest #5: Second Harlequins 'co-living' block? - Arts centre opens despite CityPoint threat - City of Culture bid - Parliamentary boundary review

In the fifth edition of our newsletter we review key stories from the past few weeks and announce the return of our community journalism training courses and workshops.

Exeter Digest #4: University and council drop development standards - Exe valley under threat - Kinder Exeter community festival

In the fourth edition of our newsletter we also welcome trainee reporter Jenna McGill to the team and introduce the first Exeter Observer caption competition.

Exeter Digest #3: Devon Pension Fund fossil fuel investment - SW Exeter district heating network - Exeter local election results

The third edition of our essential newsletter offers something for everyone on sunny bank holiday weekend.

Exeter Digest #2: Exeter local elections guide - Majority want net zero by 2030 - Council meetings to resume in person

With the local elections a week today and a bank holiday weekend on its way we thought we'd publish our second edition a day early to give you extra time to take your pick of our top stories.

Exeter Digest #1: Statistics in the balance - Dartmoor Line to reopen - Local elections are coming

In this first edition of Exeter Observer's email newsletter we introduce our format and bring you up to date with our coverage over the past couple of months.

Recent stories
Electoral Commission voting options graphic

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

When, where and how to vote in the 2024 Exeter local elections

Our guide to casting your ballot in person, by post and by proxy as well as voter ID requirements and new regulations for postal votes.

Auditor value for money arrangements recommendations summary chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Auditor broadens inquiry to include Exeter City Futures and ex-CEO secondment to liquidated company

More 'significant weaknesses' found in city council governance and financial and performance management arrangements while St Sidwell's Point valued at £7 million less than build cost and £370,000 ex-CEO final year pay and benefits confirmed.

Devon County Council SEND spending 2019-20 to 2024-25 bar chart

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

SEND deficit deal demands £50m budget cuts, £13m asset sales and use of £20m financial reserves

Department for Education to contribute £95 million over nine years, but terms of deal require Devon County Council to break even on SEND within two years despite five years of multi-million pound overspends.

Devon & Torbay Combined County Authority governance structure diagram

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Devon devolution deal to create unaccountable local government layer for paltry £16 million payoff

Democratic deficit to increase as city and district councils lose control over housing and prosperity funding and transport policy powers moved out of reach, while county council plans to approve deal irrespective of public consultation outcome.

Exeter St Thomas station

COMMENT  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Access for all? Mobility-impaired passengers still cannot catch their train from some Exeter stations

National railway accessibility policies fail to deliver local transport network access as Exeter St Thomas station improvement funding bid decision awaited.

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