Ultra vires

Exeter City Council has voted to suspend parts of its constitution, despite not having the power do so.  The sentiment that the first casualty of war is truth has been attributed to many sources, including the Greek dramatist Aeschylus. These days, at least in public life, truth is a vanishing commodity which doesn’t require aContinue reading “Ultra vires”

No sanctions please, we’re councillors

Scene:  A committee room in Exeter City Council’s Paris Street offices. Cast:  Councillor Chris Musgrave (Green Party), Councillor Pete Edwards (Labour Leader of the Council), plus other members of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee, attendants, and a member of the public. Cllr Musgrave (after having asked several questions stonewalled by the Leader):  What sanctions areContinue reading “No sanctions please, we’re councillors”

County declares war on City

Devon County Council is prepared to let Exeter’s residents choke on traffic fumes so that rural commuters can stay in their cars. It’s not unusual in these straitened times for a local authority to give with one hand and take away with the other.  How else can they balance their budgets without losing all politicalContinue reading “County declares war on City”

What price green space?

Exeter City Council is about to take a decision that will define its soul The modern story of the Clifton Hill green space began in March 2018 when snow damaged the Clifton Hill Sports Centre.  In July 2018 I asked a series of questions in a blog post, questions which have never been satisfactorily answeredContinue reading “What price green space?”

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”

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?”

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?”

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”

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”