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”

Small but significant: Exeter City Council’s energy measures

I didn’t pick it up at the time, but a recent Exeter City Council report reminds its readers that the Council won a national award earlier in the year for its Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme.  The Local Government Chronicle’s Environment Award was won by the Council for an “ambitious programme of projects to achieveContinue reading “Small but significant: Exeter City Council’s energy measures”

A Tale of Two …urban extensions

In my post on the Compact City, I noted the different choices made by Freiburg and Exeter in their approaches to balancing the need to provide new homes against the need to protect the natural environment.  To illustrate how these choices played out in practice, what follows is a brief study of how the twoContinue reading “A Tale of Two …urban extensions”

Whose Vision is it anyway? Part 2

In a previous post I highlighted the flamboyantly named Greater Exeter Visioning Board, announced with a fanfare of trumpets and then shifted off into the dark shadows of proceedings held behind firmly closed doors.  This post reports the uncomfortable outcome of my further investigations. Having been told by Exeter City Council that the minutes ofContinue reading “Whose Vision is it anyway? Part 2”

Whose Vision is it anyway? Part 1

This post was originally published on http://www.petercleasby.com on 16 May 2016 It’s a truism that politicians (and not only politicians) love making good news announcements.  Even when they have to announce bad news, it’s always presented as positively as the spin doctors can manage.  Announcements which are then followed up by nothing at all areContinue reading “Whose Vision is it anyway? Part 1”

Good listening

A couple of recent events suggest that Exeter City Council may be starting to listen seriously to its communities after all. First, another bus station story.  While the new bus station is being built – and we all assume it will now go ahead – on the existing bus station site, there will need toContinue reading “Good listening”

The Compact City

How Freiburg does it, Part 2 We tend to like compact cities.  Why?  Is it because compact is the antithesis of urban sprawl, which has negative connotations.  So negative in fact that fighting it was one of the original aims of the Council for the Preservation for Rural England [1], formed 90 years ago, subsequentlyContinue reading “The Compact City”

No revolution yet, then

The window of opportunity for kick-starting a renaissance of local government in Exeter came and went yesterday.  The ruling Labour group increased its seats on the city council to 30, out of a total of 39.  The Tories have 8, and the Lib Dems 1. There are three points worth making on this. First, theContinue reading “No revolution yet, then”

Off the buses

How the Old Politics sowed discord where there should have been harmony In my previous post I set out an explanation for the failure of the “old politics” in Exeter’s local government.  I noted: a combination of working behind closed doors, letting the political party system inhibit new thinking, and failing to show leadership onContinue reading “Off the buses”