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”

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”

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?”

How to give Exeter’s climate emergency plans some welly

The coronavirus crisis has led to some reworking of the actions to develop a practical response to the climate emergency in Exeter.  This could be an opportunity to make the plans more robust. Yesterday, 26 March, should have been the climax of public engagement activity in the development of a “roadmap” to a carbon neutralContinue reading “How to give Exeter’s climate emergency plans some welly”

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”

Vision on

Exeter City Council’s Chief Executive has given an important and valuable lead in setting a new direction for the city. The Legacy Like many other English towns and cities Exeter’s growth and development has been erratic, sometimes managed and sometimes not.  The post-war reconstruction of the High Street was actively managed by the current council’sContinue reading “Vision on”

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 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 .…..?”