Leaders Column - Exeter City Council Leader Phil Bialyk
Published: 5 November 2021
It was great news for Exeter to have the women’s rugby international, England’s Red Roses v New Zealand’s Black Ferns, at Sandy Park.
Nearly 10,000 spectators attended and the match was also shown on television. It was a great game to watch, and the publicity Exeter receives from these high profile rugby matches is absolutely great for the city.
Exeter is a great place for rugby and for sport in general - and is increasingly being recognised as such right across the country and beyond. This is so positive for Exeter, and I couldn’t be more pleased.
The COP26 conference is rightly dominating the news at the moment, and I’m very pleased to say that in Exeter we have been ahead of the curve for some time, although we are not complacent and we know there is still much to do.
Work in nearing completion on the UK’s first Passivhaus leisure centre, which was funded by the City Council. It will save up to 70 per cent on energy costs. The team are working hard to complete the building, and we hope to be able to announce an opening date later this month. This is a facility that everyone in the city will be rightly proud of for many years to come.
Leisure estates are traditionally very high users of energy, with the resulting carbon emissions this causes. The fact that this fantastic building will be the first in the country to be built in such an energy-efficient way is something we should all be very proud of.
We are setting an example with St Sidwell’s Point, it’s also why we have our own development company to build homes of the same environmental standard.
We are currently consulting on the Local Plan. Our plans for Liveable Exeter show how we can build sustainably, by building on predominately brownfield sites and protect our green spaces in the hills surrounding the city, which are a fantastic amenity, enjoyed by the people of Exeter. We are committed to protecting them.
A number of applications that have come in for these areas that have been resisted, because we can meet our forward supply with our Liveable Exeter programme.
It is a great news that the long-awaited roll out of collecting food waste has started this week in Alphington. This is good news for everyone. People have heard about the issues with procurement which is causing problems across the country, but despite the rising costs of delivering this service we are committed to doing so.
I’m glad to say that the traditional Remembrance Sunday will be returning this year, with a service and two minutes silence at the War Memorial in Northernhay Gardens on Sunday 14 November, from 10.45am. A wreath from Exeter will also be sent by train to the national Remembrance Service in London.
Last year Remembrance Sunday had to be virtual-only due to the pandemic, and I am pleased that this very important event can return as normal this year.
Finally, on a sad note, Thursday was the funeral of my very good friend Pete Edwards. Our friendship goes back nearly 50 years, through work and our activity within the Council.
I have a lot to thank him for, and I am sure that as time goes by people will reflect on and admire the huge contribution he has made to this city.
I feel sure the family appreciates the many letters of respect and condolence from leaders all over the country, from institutions and people who have been connected to the city. They have come in far and wide, including from across Europe.
This is a mark of the man he was, and the esteem he was held in. His legacy will be remembered for a very long time to come.