Council Leader: Schools have broken up and the summer holiday is here
Published: 27 July 2023
Schools have broken up and the summer holiday period is here. Many people will be going on holiday and also enjoying their time here in the city.
There’s many great things to enjoy in Exeter, including our parks and open spaces, the splash parks and the RAMM, which can all be enjoyed for free. We really have great facilities for people to enjoy during the holidays, including our leisure centres and attractions like the Underground Passages, and I know the city will be busy with people enjoying themselves throughout the summer.
We still recognise that it remains very hard for a lot of people struggling with the cost of living crisis. But the Council has a support package in place which is there to support those most in need, and all the information can be found on our website: exeter.gov.uk/costoflivingsupport
Last weekend was the first draw for the Exeter Community Lottery. This is a great initiative which is supporting good causes in the city, with well over 80 community groups and organisations signed up so far. I’m so pleased that people can now buy lottery tickets knowing that money goes to local good causes here in Exeter.
The first phase of development is underway at Vaughan Road, Whipton, to create 35 new Passivhaus homes for people in housing need in the city. We will bring forward plans to enable the remaining two phases, but we cannot do so while interest rates and construction prices are so high. When this changes we have got the authority to proceed and eventually will deliver 91 much-needed, low-energy new Council homes at this site.
The future of the city centre is so important, and the remaining bus station site is a key location. We are in the process of procuring a contractor and remain committed that the former bus station building, where I used to work, will be demolished and the site cleared in the near future.
We have aspirations for the long term future of the site and we are discussing the possibilities with a number of key partners. We are doing everything we can – but the economic conditions are tough to get projects like this away. We also want to create a temporary use for this site once the bus station is demolished, and we will be consulting with people on what this may look like.
It is very important that we keep the city moving forward. The city centre is currently performing very well, with high levels of footfall and excellent visitor numbers, and it is very important that we maintain this.
Although not the City Council’s responsibility, I have been having meeting with the Managing Director of Stagecoach concerning bus services in Exeter and what we would like to see improved. We have all had bad experiences in the past and are all hoping to see this improve in the future.
We need improved transport to get around the city. If we are to realise our ambition to improve our communities locally and improve our air quality, we need to start with the basics, and that is the need for people to move around the city in a sustainable way, and public transport is key to that.
It is disappointing that central government refused Devon’s bid for a replacement Mallison Bridge at Exeter Quay, which is an important asset for the city, and we will again support the County Council in its revised bid for further funding to deliver it.
Finally, as a keen participant in football, I would like to wish Exeter City all the very best for the start of the new League One campaign. If Plymouth can win promotion then I’m sure we can too, and it’s time for the whole city to get behind the team.