Exeter City Council
Howell Road garage student block illustrative elevation

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Howell Road garage for sale a week after student block redevelopment plans granted at appeal

Developer denied he would 'spin in and spin out and take my profit' at planning committee that approved 'backstop' plans for nine flats on site, saying student block was 'what we want to build'.

Howell Road garage

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

26-bed Howell Road garage site student accommodation block allowed at appeal

St James Neighbourhood Plan community balance aims discounted and council policy and evidence deemed insufficient in inspector's decision to overturn planning committee refusal.

Exeter Academy English language school in Sylvan Road, Pennsylvania

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Plan to convert language school to nursery to test credibility of city council active travel policy

Exeter Academy sits near top of steep hill 250 feet above city, far from accessible bus and rail routes, but developer claims local plan compliance in 'demonstrably sustainable location' which is 'conducive to sustainable modes of travel'.

Corner of Fore Street and West Street with St Mary Steps church in the background

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Developers claim council planning committee refusal was 'if not malevolent, certainly misguided'

Appeal against decision to deny fifth additional storey in build-to-rent scheme above Crankhouse Coffee accuses councillors of seeking to 'appease the weight of objectors' orchestrated opinion' against amendments to eleven year-old consent.

Exeter City Council ballot share by ward 2016 to 2024 line graph

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter bucks national trend as Labour support falls 6% and party loses vote share in all but one ward

Independent group, Greens and LibDems all take seats and Conservatives increase share in four wards as Labour stays in control of council after close call in Mincinglake & Whipton, holds in key battlegrounds and third Topsham win.

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Exeter City Council 2024 local elections results party seat distribution

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council 2024 local elections results

The votes cast for each candidate with vote share and vote share change by party in each ward, plus turnout and the distribution of seats.

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2024 Exeter local elections guide graphic showing current council seat distribution

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

2024 Exeter local elections guide

City council elections take place on Thursday 2 May. Our comprehensive guide covers who's standing where, wards to watch and the backdrop to this year's ballot, which promises to be the most unpredictable contest in years.

Exeter Labour 2024 campaign leaflet

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Council raids community fund for £6 million to pay for eight year-old food waste collection promise

Emergency decision to finance materials reclamation facility investment taken less than a week before 2024 local elections campaign officially began.

Exeter Community Lottery homepage

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Australian multinational is biggest council lottery winner as 92% of local causes receive less than £500

Operator collects £26,000 and city council £16,000 in first nine months as public support for Exeter voluntary and community organisations turned into private profit.

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.

Exeter local elections campaign materials

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Help hold Exeter's politicians to account during the 2024 local elections

Send us any campaign materials you receive so we can factcheck claims and keep tabs on pledges after the votes have been counted.

Wonford Community Wellbeing Hub option seven plan crop

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

£1+ million for Wonford community hub project development but £7 million build finance not yet found

City council presented £750,000 'feasibility proposal' as progression of existing plans despite having to start again after three years to cut costs, with Exeter City Living awarded £550,000 project contract.

Southgate development site heritage map

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Secretary of State overturns council decision to waive Southgate site Environmental Impact Assessment

Proposals for up to 200 flats in high-rise tower blocks have potentially significant impacts on Exe Estuary avian flightpaths, Exeter Cathedral skyline, listed buildings and ancient city walls placing protected landscapes and heritage assets at risk.

Liveable Exeter Placemaking Charter cover image

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Liveable Exeter Placemaking Charter consultation skewed towards only one of five 'core tools'

Private developers' forum and other major components of new charter not mentioned in council communications, but transparency and new 'culture of openness' to 'help build trust in the planning system' emphasised throughout.

Spruce Close & Celia Crescent development aerial view

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council approves plans for controversial greenfield site housing

Key details remain unresolved including future ownership and management of green space and public access restrictions during construction period.

Longbrook Street student accommodation block illustrative elevation

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Top to bottom King Billy student block redesign waved through as minor variation to consented plans

Council throws out Design Review Panel interventions and reneges on commitment to planning committee while developers claim unauthorised destruction of protected medieval wall justified on safety grounds.

St Bridget Nurseries illustrative layout

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Judge quashes planning permission for 350 homes at St Bridget Nurseries in Old Rydon Lane

High Court judgement finds city council did not properly discharge duties or take material considerations into account, council officer seriously misled planning committee and county council failed in statutory local highway authority role.

Illustrative elevation facing St Luke's campus

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Heavitree Road police station & magistrates court redevelopment appeal dismissed

Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner and offshore development partner sent back to drawing board after attempt to overturn city council decision to refuse two huge student/co-living blocks fails.

Exeter City Council allotment fees increases 2016 to 2024 line graph

ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Council plans huge allotment fees increases to claw back cash from 1,500 city gardeners and growers

Plot holders provided with incomplete picture as consultation held which does not comply with council's own charter and delayed scrutiny report that omits key survey findings suggests council aims to turn profit from allotment provision.

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Land Trust garden community development of 3,000 homes at Beaulieu, near Chelmsford

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Liveable Exeter 'garden city' branding is about government funding, not green space

New Exeter Local Plan policy 'principles' have little in common with historic vision revitalised for 21st century by TCPA for government programme, while consented Haven Banks scheme and proposed new town near Exeter Airport have even less.

3D view of revised development proposal

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Student landlord submits new plans for Union Road HMO back garden block following appeal failure

Application for six bedroom, single storey purpose built student accommodation block made on site of refused ten bedroom, two storey scheme in garden of thirteen bedroom shared student house.

Old bus and coach station demolition plan

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Old Exeter bus and coach station to be demolished five and a half years after closure

Bristol-based Wring Group appointed as contractor by city council to demolish building to slab level but not to remove foundations, leaving rest of CityPoint site untouched.

Clifton Hill redevelopment illustrative elevation

COMMENT  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Revised proposals to sell council land for co-living and high-spec housing discount site viability issues

Council leader's Clifton Hill and Mary Arches car park sale amendments agreed by Executive without discussing financial consequences, including multi-million pound value losses compelling sale of other assets to cover Exeter City Living debts.

Clifton Hill sports centre development site

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Clifton Hill sports centre site - with adjacent green space - and Mary Arches car park set for sale for PBSA

Reversal of policy to prohibit Purpose Built Student Accommodation on city council land proposed to cover expected £9 million outstanding Exeter City Living debt, with £800,000 budget proposed for site disposal costs.

Sandy Park stadium

NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

City council gives Exeter Chiefs permission to hold Sandy Park concerts with 15,500 attendees

Permanent consent for six weekend events between 1 May and 15 July each year with amplified music to 10.30pm follows four trial concerts with audiences of just 3,500.

Illustrative elevations facing Cowley Bridge Road

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council approves Cowley Bridge Road student blocks on former Johnsons site

350 bedspaces in four blocks up to six storeys tall to be built on windfall site left vacant after 2020 fire at former laundry and workwear factory.

3D view of proposed development

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Planning inspector upholds Union Road HMO back garden student block refusal

Appeal against city council decision dismissed as similar application by same student landlord in Pennsylvania Road HMO garden under consideration.

New Exeter local plan graphic

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council holds consultation on full draft of new Exeter Local Plan, set to guide development to 2040

Second major consultation begins as government introduces sweeping national planning system reforms including transfer of powers to Whitehall and changes to scope of local plans and local plan-making processes.

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New Exeter Local Plan Water Lane site allocation map

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Water Lane SPD consultation opens in parallel with local plan survey

Policy intends to provide development framework and design code for 90 acre site on which 1,600 new dwellings plus employment space expected by 2040.

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Policy on extensions and building lines on corner plot sites - illustrative diagram

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council seeks comments on draft Householder's Guide to extensions and alterations

Policy covers size and position, materials, boundary relationships, loft conversions, dormers, solar panels and roof terraces, among other residential development design considerations.

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South West area employment rates 2012 to 2023 line graph

NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Exeter employment rate second lowest in South West for second year running

Economic inactivity levels related to large student and retiree population remain high, creating recruitment challenges from healthcare to refuse collection, but council celebrates top retirement destination ranking as 'more good news'.

Exeter City Living hoarding at Clifton Hill sports centre development site

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Living to be all-but wound up after £4.5 million losses with £10 million owed to council

Council expects resulting resale value of surrendered Clifton Hill development site not to cover company's debts, with remaining losses to be written off, as Liveable Exeter vision thrown into doubt and councillors evade responsibility for failure.

Southgate development site plan

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Southgate development of up to 200 new flats on Magdalen Street car park to alter Western Way gyratory

Screening opinion concludes no significant environmental impact will result from Liveable Exeter scheme.

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Proposed Summerland Street 'co-living' block illustrative aerial view

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Revised proposals for Summerland Street 'co-living' block submitted

Developer of 147-bedspace six storey scheme on city council land claims it will contribute to local housing need, ensure 'mixed and balanced communities' and enhance the local conservation area.

Empty Co-Cars parking bay in College Road, Exeter

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Co-Cars liquidation expected to leave creditor and shareholder losses of more than £1.3 million

Sale of Co-Bikes fleet and spare parts agreed for just 4.5% of £600,000 book value after significant grant funding and investment fail to float shared mobility provider.

Illustrative elevation facing St Luke's campus

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Developer appeals Heavitree Road police station & magistrates court student/co-living blocks refusal

Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner and offshore-registered PBSA Heavitree Road S.A.R.L. seek to overturn Exeter City Council decision to reject application for 964-bed development beside The Gorge.

Cover of Exeter City Council draft 2023-27 housing strategy

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council seeks feedback on council housing strategy

Exeter City Council is seeking feedback on a draft 2023-27 council housing strategy that will guide the way it manages its stock of 4,800 rented homes and 1,000 leasehold properties over the next five years.

Pendragon Road greenfield development illustrative layout

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Pendragon Road development of 100 greenfield homes in Exeter's northern hills allowed at appeal

City council decision to refuse outline permission overturned by planning inspector citing 50% affordable housing provision and housing supply shortfall.

Howell Road garage covered in graffiti

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

City council grants Howell Road garage flats permission despite pending PBSA appeal on same site

Developer still aims to build student accommodation block saying flats would be 'backstop' against loss of appeal while St James residents concerned students will occupy development either way.

Victoria Street co-living proposal illustrative view

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

101-bed 'co-living' complex proposed in the heart of St James

Council vision for city's future on collision course with neighbourhood plan policies in Victoria Street scheme described as 'yet more student housing by stealth'.

Cover of Exeter City Council 2022-23 unaudited statement of accounts

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Annual inspection period begins as unaudited 2022-23 city council accounts published

Special information access rights enabling local residents to examine records and ask council and external auditor related questions apply until 12 October.

The Gorge co-living development under construction

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

New Community Infrastructure Levy charges to be introduced by city council

Charges levied on most new development towards the cost of infrastructure that is needed to mitigate its impact are to change in line with council proposals that discount co-living development to facilitate its delivery.

Illustrative view of proposed development

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Water Lane redevelopment outline plans submitted to city council for approval

Up to 980 dwellings and 40,000m2 of other uses including student accommodation, workspace, education, retail and a hotel envisaged on ex-industrial site between railway embankment and the canal.

Cover of Exeter City Council draft digital customer service strategy

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

City council invites comments on digital customer service transformation

Exeter City Council is inviting comments until 15 September on a draft digital customer service strategy that aims to make more efficient use of council resources by increasing its reliance on digital technology for service delivery.

University of Exeter Duryard Valley solar farm development site plan

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Council approves university solar farm in Duryard Valley greenfield

Officers say harm resulting from development of publicly-accessible urban green space outweighed by benefits of renewable energy generation.

St Sidwell's Point leisure centre behind derelict Exeter bus station

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

£1 million leisure overspend fuels £3.2 million city council deficit

2022-23 budget review confirms £2.2 million annual leisure subsidy to continue with St Sidwell's Point expected to make a loss for at least five years while another £22 million to be spent on Exeter City Living Vaughan Road development.

Casting House Water Lane development site compulsory purchase

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Compulsory purchase of flats and disposal of council land to enable Water Lane development site access

Exeter City Council to use powers to provide developer with land for new highways layout at gateway to proposed low-traffic neighbourhood.

Exeter City Council consultants' Article 4 direction area report option 3 map

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council student accommodation policy proposals overlook 50-80% of student-occupied housing stock

Article 4 direction & HMO SPD consultation omits key information, confuses licensing and planning matters, misrepresents NPPF requirements and proposes barely discernible changes in place of needed new Exeter Local Plan policies.

AirBnB website listing page

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter councillor Yvonne Atkinson found in breach of code of conduct but escapes prosecution

Summary of investigation related to rental property interests involving Devon & Cornwall Police and Crown Prosecution Service withheld by Devon County Council while councillor campaigned for re-election to Exeter City Council.

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University of Exeter students 2001-2023 Freedom Of Information Act responses vs published Full-Time Equivalent numbers line chart

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

University comes clean on true Exeter campus student numbers over past two decades

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information Act confirm between 7,500 and 12,000 more students based in city each year than university numbers suggest – until this year – with major implications for council planning policy.

Exeter City Council annual meeting

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Labour councillors again appointed to all thirteen committee chairs at annual council meeting

Council leader finally quits planning committee alongside other remaining Executive member but persists with secret board that enables scrutiny evasion.

Exeter City Council party seat distribution after 2023 local elections

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council 2023 local elections results

The votes cast for each candidate in each ward plus turnout and postal votes with the overall distribution of seats.

Exeter City Council ballot share by ward 2016-23

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter electoral tectonic plates rumble as political landscape shifts

Labour takes second Conservative seat in Topsham but loses in St Thomas to Liberal Democrats as Green wins in Heavitree, St David's and Newtown & St Leonards place party second in 2023 city council elections.

Satellite image showing two minute pedestrian route from The Cottage, Nadderwater to Newbery car breakers, Redhills

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

How far does the council leader have to go before he sees a planning committee conflict of interest?

Phil Bialyk led charge against application to develop site 160 yards from his house despite conduct codes and LGA planning probity guidance.

Exeter City Council community grants budgets including 2023-24 virements bar chart

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Councillor falsely labels community grants cuts story 'misinformation'

Labour's Martin Pearce brands Exeter Observer 'opposition propaganda' at full city council meeting, earning rebuke from Lord Mayor and putting council at risk of code of practice breach during pre-election period.

Exeter In Brief - May 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

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Electoral Commission voting options graphic

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

When, where and how to vote in the 2023 Exeter local elections

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

2023 Exeter local elections guide graphic showing current council seat distribution

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

2023 Exeter local elections guide

City council elections take place on Thursday 4 May. Our essential guide highlights who's standing where, wards to watch and what the results might be. It also covers the wider context, voter ID and the impact of First Past the Post in Exeter elections.

Harry Johnson-Hill Exeter Duryard & St James and Winchester Alresford & Itchen Valley candidate local elections campaign leaflets

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter local elections candidate is also standing in Winchester

University of Exeter student Harry Johnson-Hill hopes to represent voters both in Duryard & St James and at home in Alresford & Itchen Valley, 100 miles away.

Exeter City Council 2022-23 councillors public meetings attendance bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Alphington worst represented ward as councillor attendance at public meetings varies widely across city

Consistent commitment to participation in democratic decision-making by some councillors in contrast with poor attendance rates of others.

Exeter local elections campaign materials

EXETER OBSERVER COMMUNITY

Help hold Exeter's political parties to account during the local elections

Send us any campaign materials you receive so we can factcheck candidates' claims and hold them to their pledges after the votes have been counted.

Exeter In Brief - April 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

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Exeter In Brief - March 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

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Exeter City Council community grants budgets bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Council slashes community grants but splashes cash on paddling pools in contested wards

Exeter grants programme budget reduced from £425,000 to £15,000 leaving hundreds of grassroots groups out in the cold as the impact of borrowing takes its toll and council fails to consult on budget cuts despite auditor recommendation.

Exeter City Council in session at Exeter Guildhall

COMMENT  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council's approach to decision-making is damaging local democracy

Separation of powers and transparency provisions intended to safeguard public interest being subverted while council defies auditor over loss-making company.

Exeter empty and second homes by council tax band October 2022 bar chart

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter has more empty and second homes than built in city in past two years

Council tax premium proposals that aim to raise additional revenue from underused housing stock might also encourage return to residential occupancy.

Exeter In Brief - February 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

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Co-living - discover a new way to rent

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council development levy changes are insufficiently evidenced and don't meet city infrastructure needs

Exeter City Council and Liveable Exeter partners impose faulty typology driven by policy objectives while ignoring new local plan, evidence base and statutory funding statement and excluding residential and retail charges from review.

Exeter In Brief - January 2023

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters.

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Exeter city centre retail area map 2017 and 2022 CDRC data

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Is the grass really greener in Exeter city centre?

Academic research placing Exeter retail area at top of green space table was nationally reported, locally misrepresented then repurposed as booster fuel by local politicians overlooking study's social justice focus.

Lottery graphic

ANALYSIS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Council lottery operator to take cut from local charitable donations

Decision to promote gambling as 'incentivised giving' plays down risks without assessing potential impacts or evidencing claimed benefits, disrupting relationships between community and voluntary sector organisations and supporters.

Exeter Development Fund workshop presentation October 2021

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Futures falsely claims development fund documents disclosed under FOI legislation

Senior council director puts company on collision course with Information Commissioner's Office as significant governance failings emerge after councillors and public kept in dark over Liveable Exeter financing scheme proposals.

Exeter City Council 2020-21 external audit report cover

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Living put council at 'significant financial risk' after £2.2 million loss in first two years

Missing business plan, lack of transparency and conflicts of interest among senior council directors prompt board resignations and governance review at council-owned and funded company.

Student houses in multiple occupation to let in Raleigh Road, Exeter

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Information Commissioner to investigate university over student accommodation numbers refusal

Compliance failure follows university admission that nearly 39,000 students based at Exeter campuses in 2021-22, suggesting around three quarters of city's private rented housing stock occupied by students.

Exeter In Brief - December 2022

Keeping you in touch with local news that matters

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Clydesdale, Nash and Birks Grange Village redevelopment illustrative elevations

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

University holds public consultation on 1,700 bed West Park redevelopment design

Outline plans to demolish 30 buildings and construct 50,000m2 of student accommodation on fifteen acre Streatham campus site did not comply with university or council environmental policies.

Exeter adults who do any walking or cycling for any purpose 2016 to 2021 bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Figures show declining Exeter walking and cycling rates as active travel delivery falls by the wayside

County council plans to remove Queen Street active travel infrastructure despite road space reallocation commitments expose equivocal city transport policy aim.

Exeter borough and Exmouth and East Exeter county constituency boundary changes final proposals combined map

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Pinhoe, St Loye's and Topsham all in new Exmouth and East Exeter constituency under revised changes

Final boundary commission consultation follows city council proposal to move marginal Pinhoe to safe Conservative seat and keep Priory Labour stronghold in city.

Exeter Purpose Built Student Accommodation map

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

University says 39,000 students – nearly 30% of city's population – based at Exeter campuses in 2021-22

Freedom of information request reveals 11,500 more students than published FTE figures with major implications for council planning policy but university refuses to disclose numbers in PBSA vs residential housing stock.

Illustrative ground floor plan

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Heavitree Road developer gets sixth pitch for student/co-living complex

Eight design iterations, six council meetings, four consultation rounds and two deferrals combine to impede public participation in planning process on key Liveable Exeter site and increase chances of decision being overturned at appeal.

Computer generated aerial view of proposed development from south

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Flood risk threatens to sink Haven Banks redevelopment plans

Proposals for 434 rental units accommodating up to 1,167 people on 1.7 hectare Liveable Exeter site would deliver extreme housing densities that deny amenity to prospective occupants while inflicting significant impacts on existing residents.

Exeter City Council outline draft local plan site allocations crop

COMMENT  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Will council seek investment zone status for Liveable Exeter sites?

Government growth plans combine tax breaks with planning deregulation, putting affordable housing provision and environmental protections at risk with little evidence that promised investment zone benefits would result.

Exeter City Council government borrowing 2014-2022 bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

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

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

New Exeter local plan cover

BRIEFINGS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

New Exeter Local Plan outline draft consultation

Our guide to Exeter City Council's consultation as well as the national planning system reform threatening major changes that would require significant revision to the new plan before its submission to the planning inspectorate.

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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.

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.

Liveable Exeter community engagement with council development director Ian Collinson

COMMENT  ⁄  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?

Exeter Article 4 Direction area July 2011 map

NEWS  ⁄  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

NEWS  ⁄  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 City Futures website - vision & mission summary

COMMENT  ⁄  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.

Rob Hannaford and Karime Hassan at Exeter City Council's June 2022 strategic scrutiny committee meeting

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Net Zero Exeter accountability under scrutiny

Exeter City Council's response to the climate crisis has so far been characterised by numerous failings. Unfortunately its attitude towards accountability for its actions in this area is also cause for concern.

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

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  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.

Exeter 2020 net internal migration by age group bar chart

ANALYSIS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Exeter beset by unaffordable housing, low graduate retention and economically inactive over 50's

Exeter City Council executive ignores key challenges flagged in major council-commissioned employment and skills research report.

https://unsplash.com/photos/eHD8Y1Znfpk

NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  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.

Exeter Statement of Community Involvement cover

NEWS  ⁄  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.

Flowerpot Playing Fields

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Will Exeter College fence off Exwick community playing fields?

Exeter College redevelopment plans at Exwick and Flowerpot Playing Fields threaten a three metre fence around publicly-accessible playing fields and their replacement with artificial turf. Will it change course after widespread objections?

Exeter City Council 2022 annual meeting 17 May 2022

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Labour councillors appointed to all thirteen city council committee chairs at annual meeting

Council leader falsely claims 'overwhelming majority' voted Labour in Exeter local elections while circumvention of council decision-making scrutiny continues.

Exeter City Council party seat distribution after 2022 local elections

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Greens take three seats from Labour so Progressive Group replaces Conservatives as official opposition

Conservative loss in Topsham among significant vote share changes in 2022 Exeter City Council elections suggesting city's political landscape in flux.

2022-23 band D council tax charges ranges (England)

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Coda: Council tax

The last part of our 2022 local elections series is a coda examining Exeter Labour's claim that the city has one of the lowest rates of council tax in the country.

2022 Exeter local elections guide graphic

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

2022 Exeter local elections guide

City council elections take place on Thursday 5 May. Our essential guide highlights who's standing where, wards to watch and what the results might look like and mean. We also outline their context and explain when, where and how to vote.

Climate delay discourse typology

ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Part III: Climate & environment

The third in our 2022 local elections series examines Exeter Labour claims about climate crisis leadership, renewable energy, recycling, retrofitting and development standards as well as decisions to scrap council and city decarbonisation goals.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Brownfield or green?

At yesterday’s second scrutiny meeting in the series being orchestrated by the city council to air Exeter City Futures’ ideas about using Exeter as an urban guinea pig for its development fund project it was Frazer Osment’s turn to play the ringer.

Exeter city councillors with low attendance levels during 2021-22 - stacked bar graph

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Low attendance levels among some councillors mean Exeter electors get varying value for their votes

As part of our 2022 Exeter local elections coverage we have assessed the past year's attendance figures for public council meetings as a measure of councillor commitment to their constituents.

Shops to let on Exeter High Street

ANALYSIS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Part II: Economy & city centre

The second in our 2022 local elections series examines Exeter Labour claims about the city centre and Exeter's wider economy, including its misrepresentation of content marketing materials as authoritative sources of information about the city.

Exeter Labour manifesto for Exeter City Council 2022 elections - front cover

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Part I: Exeter's housing crisis

The first instalment in our 2022 local elections coverage examines Exeter Labour claims related to the housing crisis overtaking the city.

Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan cover edit

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter City Council abandons city 2030 decarbonisation 'ambition'

Unannounced decision to exclude scope 3 emissions constituting around 43% of Exeter's carbon footprint from 'net zero' plans effectively ensures city will not meet its decarbonisation goals.

Exeter Live Better sugarloaf cable car

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Council reveals plan for 'Pods in Exeter's Sky' to beat city congestion

Exeter City Futures proposal connects key city sites with a network of Alpine-style cable cars as an alternative to traffic improvement measures.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

It's scrutiny Jim, but not as it should be

The city council kicked off a quartet of scrutiny meetings intended to pave the way for councillors to give Exeter Development Fund a green light with a session last night that resembled a sales pitch.

Vaughan Road Exeter City Living development site

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Why does Exeter City Council evade public scrutiny of Exeter City Living property development decisions?

Significant decisions concerning the council-owned company are being taken in secret despite transparency legislation and assurances when it was created, with governance and scrutiny arrangements also potentially putting the council at risk.

Exeter student house in multiple occupation

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council consultants confirm 58% of Exeter's university students live in city's residential housing stock

2021-22 university figures suggest there are now more than 4,500 student HMOs in the city, consistent with ONS findings, with number set to surpass Exeter's council housing provision.

Exeter City Council in session at Exeter Guildhall

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Futures secondment decision may be unlawful

Backbench city councillors denied scrutiny call-in powers to challenge controversial decision to send chief executive and senior director to work for private company.

Guildhall shopping centre sale brochure cover

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

£55 million Guildhall shopping centre decision may breach local government transparency rules

Exeter City Council decision to purchase and redevelop shopping centre may be unlawful, ineffective and subject to judicial review, increasing already significant commercial investment risks.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

We heart climate crisis

Anyone who might have been tempted to believe that the climate crisis is at the heart of everything Exeter City Council does (as it repeatedly claims) need look no further than its response to the consultation on the Devon climate assembly’s output report for clarification.

Karime Hassan, Phil Bialyk, Tony Rowe and Paul Thomas at Sandy Park hotel development site

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Decision to send council CEO and director to work for Exeter City Futures is 'disservice to citizens'

City council disregards governance, risk and conflict of interest issues despite cross-party challenges and conflates decarbonisation agenda with property development financing scheme.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

In other urban sprawl news

A development of up to 80 residential dwellings on a ten acre greenfield site alongside Exwick Lane has been given the go ahead at appeal.

Devon council climate action plan Climate Emergency UK scorecard scores bar chart

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter decarbonisation plans found wanting in nationwide council climate action plan study

Somerset West and Taunton highest scoring local authority area with East Devon in third place nationally in comprehensive Climate Emergency UK analysis.

Pennsylvania housing stock in Sylvan Road, Exeter

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Pennsylvania petitioners expose fifteen years of flawed student accommodation policy-making

City council policies based on faulty premises, inaccurate information and miscalculated projections have failed to prevent mass student occupation of Exeter residential housing stock despite the proliferation of Purpose Built Student Accommodation across the city.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Money for nothing

The Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) closed its consultation on draft changes to the Prudential Code last month, following a preliminary consultation earlier this year. The code governs how much councils can borrow to invest and what forms of commercial activity they are permitted to pursue.

Harlequins revised redevelopment scheme - block two model view Paul Street elevation

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter City Council approves second Harlequins 'co-living' block, sealing fate of Paul Street

Previously rejected vision will now form basis of 'abysmal' and 'poorly thought through' Liveable Exeter development of 383 'units of accommodation' with increased proportion of substandard studios but reduced economic value to city.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Net Zero Exeter 2030?

Research by University of Exeter students has concluded that local councils need to provide clearer and more accessible information on how they are addressing the climate emergency.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Public sector pay pals?

Instead of announcing the biggest council funding rise for over a decade, Exeter City Council’s press team marked budget day by celebrating Exeter’s latest quarterly YouGov popularity rating. The Paris Street PR machine forgot to mention that those surveyed need never have visited the city.

Exeter City Council climate credentials claim in St Sidwells Point development hoarding

ANALYSIS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Greens call for evidence-based Exeter carbon budget as city council clings to net zero rhetoric

The Net Zero Exeter plan lacks baseline emissions figures, recognised scope definitions and measurement and reporting frameworks, placing the city's decarbonisation agenda at risk. The opportunity for Exeter to demonstrate genuine climate crisis leadership nevertheless remains.

Independent local business on Paris Street, Exeter

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Prospects improve for pop-up Paris Street and Sidwell Street tenants wanting to stay on development site

Council leader Phil Bialyk says it will be 'some years' before planned CityPoint redevelopment affects repurposed retail units, and that council 'would want' to accommodate artistic and cultural initiatives and independent local businesses 'should they wish to remain'.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

May the force be with UNESCO

Torbay and Exeter’s joint UK city of culture bid, said to be inspired by the “closely connected coastal and city destinations” despite Brixham and Exeter being an hour and a half apart by public transport, didn’t make it onto the longlist of eight places which have caught the eye of culture vulture and escapee celebrity Nadine Dorries.

Clifton Hill sports centre

COMMENT  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Council plans to scrap affordable housing requirement for Clifton Hill sports centre site redevelopment

Council-owned and financed developer cites unpublished report which values council-owned land for student housing despite council decision ruling out this use.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter City Council scraps own 'unachievable' carbon emissions target

In an extraordinary reversal, the city council removed the goal of achieving carbon neutral operations by 2022 from its corporate risk register at an Audit & Governance committee meeting last week.

Exeter borough constituency boundary changes initial proposals map

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Proposed Exeter parliamentary constituency changes pit Priory against Pinhoe

City council responds to boundary commission consultation by proposing Conservative East Devon takes marginal Pinhoe and city keeps Priory Labour stronghold instead.

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.

Liveable Exeter Place Board agenda October 2020 redacted

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

City council outsourcing Exeter local government to unaccountable Liveable Exeter Place Board

An Exeter Observer investigation of Liveable Exeter Place Board has found that it is a de facto decision-making and governance body which exercises public functions with the potential to affect everyone who lives and works in Exeter.

Exeter city centre from Exeter Cathedral roof

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Freedom of information requests reveal Liveable Exeter Place Board 'chumocracy' overseeing the city

Despite the significance of Liveable Exeter Place Board's role in determining the city's future, its members are selected and appointed on a secretive, informal basis.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  TRANSPORT & MOBILITY

Bonanza on the buses

There was no shortage of hyperbole to accompany last Sunday’s opening of Exeter’s glamorous new bus station.

Harlequins revised redevelopment scheme illustrative elevation

NEWS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Harlequins developer plans to scrap hotel to build second 'co-living' block on shopping centre site

Existing planning approval will be factor in decision to return to earlier, rejected, vision which would mean 378 studios and 'cluster flat' rooms along Paul Street.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

Free to those who can afford it

Torbay Council, Torbay Development Agency and Exeter City Council have “joined forces” to bid for 2025 UK City of Culture status, with their eyes on a prize of £300 million in claimed economic benefits.

Positive Light Projects - Sidwell Street entrance

ANALYSIS  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

Positive Light Projects opens community arts centre despite CityPoint redevelopment threat

Parts of Exeter city centre are experiencing an unplanned renaissance as small shops and cultural venues move in to fill empty units on Paris Street and Sidwell Street, but uncertainty remains as the council still plans to demolish and redevelop.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Partnership agreement of the week

In a hotly-contested field, this week’s winner must surely be the new Exeter Civic University Agreement, which found its way onto last night’s city council Executive agenda.

New Haven Field in Exeter's Riverside Valley Park

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

River Exe green spaces and heritage harbour site threatened by 'Liveable Exeter' development scheme

Exeter Civic Society and Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors raise alarm at prospect of Exeter City Council development in river valley park and historic canal basin.

Clydesdale, Nash and Birks Grange Village redevelopment illustrative elevations

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

University drops environmental standards for huge student flats development with council approval

University of Exeter and Exeter City Council both ignore own policies in plans to demolish 30 buildings and construct 50,000m2 of new student accommodation, telling us more about their priorities than their climate leadership claims.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Longbrook Street PBSA gifted second life

Exeter City Council planning officers have approved the renewal of planning permission for an eight storey 108-bed student accommodation block on the site of the King Billy public house which had previously been granted in April 2018 and since lapsed.

District heating network diagram

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

South West Exeter district heating network plan abandoned

Property developers refuse to back scheme despite local authorities committing £7.3 million to project to supply 2500 new homes with waste heat from Marsh Barton incinerator, Exeter's largest single source of carbon emissions.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Marking their own homework

Exeter City Council’s ruling Labour group reallocated the city’s committee seats at its annual meeting last week.

Exeter City Council 2021 election results ballot share percentage by ward

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Did Exeter's local elections results tell a Labour success story?

Exeter Labour lost just one seat in the city council elections and held all seven of its county hall seats, but on closer inspection its performance was more mixed than these headline results imply.

Net Zero Exeter logo

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Is Exeter City Council going to abandon its Net Zero 2030 target?

Review suggests alignment with Devon Carbon Plan, currently aimed at 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050, citing 'technical and financial challenges ahead', although change in policy would require decision by councillors after 6 May local elections.

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 City Council in session at Exeter Guildhall - Inauguration of Lord Mayor

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

High Court rules council meetings must resume in person after local elections

Case seeking judgement to allow local authority meetings to continue remotely when temporary coronavirus regulations expire fails to override requirement for primary legislation.

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NOTES & SKETCHES  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

So many questions

Quote of the week must surely go to Exeter City Council leader Phil Bialyk for: “Sorry, chair, I just need to refer to some of my other notes, if you’ll just bear with me”.

Electoral Commission ballot box graphic

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

2021 Exeter local elections guide

Elections for Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and the Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner are taking place in Exeter on 6 May. Our essential election guide highlights wards and divisions to watch, changes taking place and how, when and where to vote.

Exeter the musical promo poster

NEWS  ⁄  ARTS & CULTURE

Council announces plan to produce 'Exeter the Musical' at city's Corn Exchange

Exeter City Council has announced a plan to produce a musical theatre extravaganza billed as 'an ambitious celebration of a better life in the world's most world-class city' as part of its UNESCO City of Literature celebrations.

Centre for Cities Exeter City Monitor graphic

COMMENT  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Selective use of statistics presents an unbalanced account of Exeter's economic & environmental status

Exeter City Council's Chief Executive uses statistics to show the city in a good light, but in doing so presents a picture which omits important information about the city's true position.

Maclaines Warehouses beside Exeter ship canal

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Maclaines Warehouses development tests Exeter Heritage Harbour status

Decisions taken behind closed doors in favour of commercial interests threaten maritime and waterway heritage vision for Exeter's historic quay and canal basin.

Exeter Guildhall needs repairs

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

£37.5 million council maintenance backlog caused by underinvestment to be part-funded by asset sales

Exeter City Council has allowed property assets to deteriorate while prioritising new schemes including the £44 million St Sidwell's Point leisure centre, forcing it to identify assets for sale to pay its outstanding repair bills.

Independent councillor Jemima Moore campaigns in Newtown during the 2019 Exeter local elections

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Door to door campaigning for May local elections to go ahead after all

Government announces relaxation of coronavirus restrictions on election canvassing from next Monday 8 March in step with planned lockdown rule changes.

Exeter City Council offices on Paris Street

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Council pushes back on Liveable Exeter Place Board scrutiny following membership change

Exeter City Council has responded to an enquiry about disproportionate Church of England representation on the Liveable Exeter Place Board by accusing Exeter Observer of promoting a 'partisan narrative' and claiming our public interest reporting 'bears no resemblance to fact'.

Devon County Council local authority pension fund fossil fuel investment bar chart

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Report places Devon County Council among UK's top local authority fossil fuel investors

£157 million of Devon Local Government Pension Scheme is invested in companies including Royal Dutch Shell, BP, BHP, Anglo American and ExxonMobil despite local authority climate emergency declarations and carbon reduction commitments.

Exeter polling station

NEWS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

May local elections to go ahead despite COVID-19 challenges

Ban on doorstep canvassing and door to door leaflet distribution likely to favour the two major parties on 6 May as postal and proxy voting encouraged in Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

Exeter energy recovery facility

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

District heating network planned for new South West Exeter development

Local councils are investing up to £7.3 million in a £23 million project to supply a development of 2500 homes with heat which depends on the Marsh Barton waste incinerator, Exeter's largest single source of carbon emissions.

Harlequins shopping centre

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

First Liveable Exeter homes are substandard 'warehousing for people' which is student accommodation 'in all but name'

Harlequins shopping centre redevelopment approved by Exeter City Council includes 251 co-living units in seven storey tower block despite widespread opposition from conservation charities and community campaigners who have since appealed to the Secretary of State to call in the decision.

Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital Wonford NHS Trust parking sign

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Hospital creates parking for 200 cars despite city climate crisis goals

Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital says new parking 'temporary' but no end-date given in planning application and no hard evidence of need provided.

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.

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

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Is the 'Net Zero' Exeter plan fit for purpose?

Exeter City Futures' carbon reduction plan ignores over a million tonnes of carbon emissions and massively underestimates the challenges facing the city.

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.

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.

Exeter City Futures Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter City Council accepts climate emergency plan to make city carbon neutral by 2030

Chief Executive warns that resourcing the plan is 'problematic' given COVID-19 financial challenges and that lack of resources limits the council's capacity for immediate practical action.

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.

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'.

Night shelter for homeless and rough sleepers in Magdalen Street, Exeter (front)

NEWS  ⁄  COMMUNITY & SOCIETY

Exeter rough sleepers night shelter to open all year round

Exeter City Council has approved plans to extend Magdalen Street night shelter opening from April to the end of September.

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.

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.

Exeter City Futures Blueprint for a Carbon Neutral Exeter by 2030 graphic

COMMENT  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Is Exeter finally responding to the climate emergency?

A surge of activity about action to combat climate change is taking place in Exeter, including the publication of a carbon neutral blueprint pending a 'mobilisation summit', but detail and evidence is still missing and community engagement is falling short of debate.

Exeter Youth Strike 4 Climate banners on South Street

NEWS  ⁄  CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT

Exeter climate strike anniversary march brings junction to standstill

Protestors form human chain around County Hall to highlight Devon County Council's role as key regional climate policy decision-maker after Exeter City Council confiscates banners promoting carbon neutral blueprint policies.

Exeter net zero carbon housing pilot project in Chestnut Avenue in Wonford

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Exeter net zero housing revolution takes root in Chestnut Avenue

Exeter City Council is taking exploratory steps from talking about a zero carbon future to delivering one with a pilot housing project in Wonford.

Exeter City Council accounts delayed by auditors Grant Thornton

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter & East Devon council accounts delayed by Grant Thornton's 'lack of staff resources'

Annual accounts for local government, including Exeter City Council, have been delayed by private sector firms failing to complete their work on time after cost-cutting government auditing reforms.

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.

Exeter City Council cuts executive decision-making scrutiny

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Exeter City Council cuts scrutiny of executive decision-making

Constitutional changes proposed by Exeter City Council will make it more difficult to hold the ruling political group to account.

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.

Dutch living streets woonerf sign

SPECIAL REPORTS  ⁄  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.

Exeter City Council public toilet closure notice

ANALYSIS  ⁄  DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE

Caught short - balancing the books in a hurry

Exeter City Council has unapologetically confirmed its decision to close 13 public toilets as a money-saving measure with full knowledge of its expected effect on residents and visitors. Can we expect other spending cuts to be handled the same way?

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.

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.

Jemima Moore campaigning in Exeter local elections

ANALYSIS  ⁄  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?

Exeter Clifton Hill sports centre

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Clifton Hill sports centre – the background

Storm Emma met the Beast from the East and dumped a huge amount of snow on the roof of Exeter's Clifton Hill sports centre, setting off a chain reaction which has ignited two campaigns and put Exeter City Council's approaches to competence and openness into sharp focus.

Greater Exeter Strategic Plan banner

ANALYSIS  ⁄  PLANNING & PLACE

Is the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan GESPing for air?

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan has been a long time in gestation. When it finally arrives, will it deliver?

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ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY   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   COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY   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 DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE   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 CANAL & QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL & QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL & QUAY TRUST   EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL   EXETER CHIEFS EXETER CHIEFS EXETER CHIEFS   EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES   EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING   EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB EXETER CLIMATE ACTION HUB   EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE   EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE   EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND   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 CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE   EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER   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+   LIBRARIES UNLIMITED LIBRARIES UNLIMITED LIBRARIES UNLIMITED   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 PARKS PUBLIC PARKS PUBLIC PARKS   PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM   PUBLIC TRANSPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORT   RAMM RAMM RAMM   REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING   RETROFIT RETROFIT RETROFIT   ROYAL DEVON NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON 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 JAMES NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN ST JAMES NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN ST JAMES NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN   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   TRANSPORT POLICY TRANSPORT POLICY TRANSPORT POLICY   UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER   WATER LANE WATER LANE WATER LANE  

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