All change, please (if perhaps not yet)

The revisions to Exeter’s city bus services this month may be more significant than they first appear. Few people will have noticed the changes to Exeter’s Stagecoach bus timetables introduced from 15 June. That few will be the much-depleted number who now use the buses and geeks like me. Stagecoach consulted on the changes severalContinue reading “All change, please (if perhaps not yet)”

Really, it’s not all bad news

Once the coronavirus is fully under control, there is much to look forward to, and even some things to welcome while we’re still in lockdown; the climate emergency clock is still ticking. Historians reckon the Black Death of the mid-14th century killed at least a third of the population of Britain. So the first bitContinue reading “Really, it’s not all bad news”

An unsustainable council?

Exeter City Council has reacted energetically to put in place community support measures in the face of the coronavirus emergency. But it faces a drop in income from a single source that raises questions about its short-term solvency and its broader financial strategy in the light of its zero carbon ambitions for the city, InContinue reading “An unsustainable council?”

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”

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?”

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”

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”

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?”