Can the Council be a leader?

Exeter City Council’s default position is to look inwards on itself, but it can’t show the necessary 21st century leadership until that culture changes. Most people from the City Council who’ve read as far as this will already be outraged at what they see as a misrepresentation.  They will argue that Council consults on proposedContinue reading “Can the Council be a leader?”

High Street Greens

We can do so much better than the current High Street business model, and its current difficulties offer Exeter new opportunities There’s a lot of truth in the observation that Exeter’s city centre is a “clone town”.  Along the length of the High Street and in the shopping centres at Guildhall and Princesshay, the retailContinue reading “High Street Greens”

Reclaiming our main roads for residents

It’s not only our side streets that can be made people-friendly Traffic restraint on residential streets is not new – humps, speed limits, barriers, residents’ parking schemes, pedestrianisation, and so on.  Some of these measures have become discredited because of their impact on driving behaviour: for example speed humps encourage breaking and acceleration with consequentContinue reading “Reclaiming our main roads for residents”

Our planners’ cat is out of the bag

Consultation on the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) looks like being an expensive and time-wasting ritual. Beware of too sublime a sense Of your own worth and consequence. The man who dreams himself so great, And his importance of such weight, That all around in all that’s done Must move and act for him alone,Continue reading “Our planners’ cat is out of the bag”

Scrutiny can work

Surveys are not always reliable.  Yet if you asked the usual representative sample how they liked to spend time, attending local authority committee meetings is unlikely to score highly. This is understandable.  Public participation is strictly controlled.  In Exeter, members of the public can submit questions (3 days in advance) to be asked at anyContinue reading “Scrutiny can work”

How dense can we be?

[This post is a slightly expanded and referenced version of a five-minute presentation I gave to the Exeter City Futures Spring Connect meeting on 8 March 2017.] There is resistance to high density housing.  Perhaps it’s in the descriptor.  More likely it’s memories of the poorly-designed high-rise blocks built in the 1960s and 1970s toContinue reading “How dense can we be?”

Up for a transport challenge?

The Exeter City Futures challenge fund approach to making the Exeter area congestion-free is not for the faint-hearted. Exeter City Futures (ECF) is a community interest company with a mission to make Exeter and the surrounding area sustainable for the future.  Their first goals are to make the area congestion-free and energy-independent by 2025.  NotContinue reading “Up for a transport challenge?”

Normal service will resume on 3 January

Well, if you’ve read this sign on Exeter’s Stagecoach buses, not exactly. With a delightful irony (whether intended or not, only the editor will know), today’s Express & Echo runs two adjacent stories on page 10.  The first is about an Exeter University-led project studying commuting patterns with the aim of reducing the city’s trafficContinue reading “Normal service will resume on 3 January”

Musical Council Boundaries

When the music stops, your local council leader will be here to tell you a story [1] First, there was “devolution” for the Heart of the South West, which wasn’t devolution at all because it would have sucked powers upwards from localities to a vast “combined authority” covering all of Devon and Somerset, including PlymouthContinue reading “Musical Council Boundaries”

Wider still and wider – time to call a halt

We need a policy rethink on how changes to housing density assumptions can stop urban sprawl. In 2010, after several years of study and debate, the UK’s Government Office for Science published Land Use Futures: making the most of land in the 21st century.  The product of a major exercise in evidence-gathering and analysis (includingContinue reading “Wider still and wider – time to call a halt”