The will of the people

Nothing to do with Brexit, but Exeter City Council has bowed to public opinion In the upmarket Exeter district of St Leonard’s, the residents have been flexing their considerable collective muscle against a City Council proposal to sell off 130 sq metres of the Council-owned Bull Meadow, amounting to 1% of the park.  The aimContinue reading “The will of the people”

Quis custodiet .…..?

Increasing dependence by public bodies on consultants raises questions about where the buck really stops. Are you sitting comfortably?  Since January 2015 Exeter City Council has spent £9.4 million on services described as “Consultants Fees”.  Over half of this – £4.8 million – has gone on consultancy work related to the bus station site redevelopmentContinue reading “Quis custodiet .…..?”

A bold way forward?

Exeter City Council’s Vision for 2040 is more than just aspirational waffle.  It sets out some very clear commitments. Let’s be clear.  A vision is a vision.  Those who have done time in corporate bodies will recall the business planning hierarchy, with the Vision on top, then Aims and Objectives (I could never tell theContinue reading “A bold way forward?”

The (city) centre cannot hold

Exeter councillors’ unanimous decision to reject the application for the Moor Exchange retail park suggests they have not grasped the changes in the city’s retail  environment nor the significance of the eastward spread of housing.   On Monday 13 March Exeter City Council’s Planning Committee unanimously disagreed with their officers’ recommendation to give outline planningContinue reading “The (city) centre cannot hold”

Upon Sidwella’s Day

St Sidwella could do more for Exeter than she (probably) ever dreamed of.   St Sidwell’s Church on Exeter’s Sidwell Street commemorates the late St Sidwella, believed to have been alive in the 6th century.  Sidwella (whose name derives from all manner of genealogical speculation) is said to have been a modest, chaste, virginal, devout,Continue reading “Upon Sidwella’s Day”

Leisure centre business case stays secret

This is such an unsexy story that I don’t expect the media to pick it up; but it’s worth putting on record to close this particular loop. NEWS RELEASE                            26 July 2018                               St Sidwell’s Point business case stays secret TheContinue reading “Leisure centre business case stays secret”

What’s going on at Clifton Hill?

Exeter City Council’s decision to close the Clifton Hill Sports Centre and sell off the site and surrounding green space raises several important questions. The story so far One of nature’s reminders of human fragility was the heavy snow in March 2018 which damaged the roof of the Clifton Hill Sports Centre, resulting in itsContinue reading “What’s going on at Clifton Hill?”

Put out some flags!

Two important decisions this month show that Exeter City Council could at last be facing up to the real challenges confronting the city. First, building more homes After a long – very long – gestation period in the shadows, the Council’s proposal to set up a housing development company has burst into the sunlight.  PutContinue reading “Put out some flags!”

Doing Council business differently: Part 2 – Leadership

Not long ago, an Exeter city councillor on the Executive said to me that he might be called old-fashioned but he saw it as his job, having been elected, to take the right decisions as he saw them.  He was right: he is old-fashioned. Whether councillors like it or not, the paternalistic or top-down modelContinue reading “Doing Council business differently: Part 2 – Leadership”

Doing Council business differently: Part 1 – Engagement

In several previous posts, brought together in Can the Council be a leader?, I have illustrated why I believe Exeter City Council needs to change its political and administrative culture if it is to succeed in harnessing the energy and talents within the city to make it a truly liveable place in the 21st century.Continue reading “Doing Council business differently: Part 1 – Engagement”