Proposals for enhancing key green space overwhelmingly backed by residents
Published: 21 June 2021
Residents have overwhelmingly backed proposals to enhance a much-loved green space in the heart of the city following a public consultation.
The consultation on how best to enhance the former Northbrook Approach golf course off Topsham Road was launched earlier in the year in partnership with Devon Wildlife Trust.
The Council decided to close the Northbrook golf course in 2019. It ruled out selling the site or building houses on it and said it wanted to preserve the green open space for public use.
The consultation sought views on proposals for a ‘wild arboretum’ – a space for wildlife habitats with a focus on trees and wildflower meadows - and asked what residents would like to see at the green space and how it should best be enhanced.
More than 750 people took part on the online consultation – and of those 96 per cent backed the proposal of creating a wild arboretum.
There was very strong support for a quiet, wildlife-focussed future for the site. Of those who took part, 92 per cent said they would visit in the future to enjoy walks, views and tranquillity.
Protecting the green space and wildlife corridor was the top priority identified for future use, and the top answer for what features residents would like to see in the future was varied habitats, including wildflower meadows.
Cllr David Harvey, Lead Councillor for City Management, said: “I’d like to thank everybody who took part in the consultation and it was very encouraging to see such large numbers responding.
“I’m particularly pleased that the broad concept of creating a wild arboretum was extremely well received – with an amazing 96 per cent in favour.
“The consultation also raised a lot of other suggestions on how best to enhance this wonderful space, and we will now take time to fully digest the responses we’ve received before progressing further with proposals for the site.”
The proposal for future enhancements includes a wild arboretum, with wildflower meadows and newly planted trees, a community orchard for people to nurture and enjoy freshly picked fruit, and a project to allow the stream to re-naturalise, break out of its current channel and create new wetlands, ponds and pools.
The Council and Devon Wildlife Trust would like to see the site managed to enhance its critical role as a crucial green corridor between Ludwell and Riverside Valley Parks.
The vision for Northbrook ties into the city’s 2040 Liveable Exeter vision for a city that is healthy, inclusive and sustainable with opportunity for access to green space and biodiversity gain.
Peter Burgess, Director of Nature Recovery at Devon Wildlife Trust, said: “We’re delighted that so many people in Exeter have responded and share our enthusiasm to help make this special place wilder and give many more people access to nature on their doorstep.
“Having tranquil spaces to unwind and recharge is more important now than ever before. It’s great that people also recognise the importance of this site in the local landscape as a crucial connection between Ludwell and Riverside, for people and wildlife.
“We’re very much looking forward to working with the City Council to develop this vision into a plan, and ensuring communities are at the heart of shaping its future, which I’m sure will be a bright one.”
The Council and DWT will look at the results in detail and a report will be produced to outline the next steps in the autumn.
To read more about the consultation and the proposals for site visit exeter.gov.uk/northbrook