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We have a vision for Exeter and we have a mandate to deliver it

Published: 19 May 2021

We have a vision for Exeter and we have a mandate to deliver it Councillor Philip Bialyk, Leader of the Council

Firstly I’d like to thank the people of Exeter for returning a Labour majority in the Council elections. I would like to particularly thank the people of Exwick for again having faith in me and returning me as a councillor.

We have a vision that was outlined in our manifesto and we now have a mandate to deliver it.

There’s a lot of things happening in Exeter which will add to the city’s quality of life in the coming months.

The Riverside pool and health suite are due to reopen on July 24. This is great news and so welcome. The Council has invested heavily in this facility and it has been a long time coming, but having the pool back is a major boost for everyone in the city and I am so pleased.

St Sidwell’s Point is nearing completion and due to open in the coming months – this will be another fantastic boost for residents in the city. It’s been a long time in the planning, but subject to Covid restrictions it is due to open in the near future, and I really can’t wait for the day when we get to open the doors of this incredible new facility.

There’s also a new Exeter Bus Station opening this summer, which is a major upgrade on the current station. We will finally have an important gateway into Exeter which properly reflects a great city like ours.

There continues to be positive things happening right across Exeter. Together with the Chief Executive I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview of the new Exeter College building and the facilities it will offer, and it is so impressive.

The Digital and Data Centre aims to provide young people will the IT skills they will need for the future. It is a great investment in the city and very much in line with our vision of having a high tech economy and a highly skilled workforce.

We want to continue bringing good jobs to Exeter and ensuring that the workforce has the skills that will be needed.

We will continue working with our strategic partners across the city to work towards Exeter becoming a Net Zero Carbon city in 2030.

As part of this we will be rolling out kerbside recycling later this year and we are pressing ahead with the retrofit of our council homes in partnership with the Government. We’ve also got our council-owned build of 500 new Passivhaus homes over the next five years.

We continue to work through the budget we have set and put plans in place to reflect the fact that our budget is being reduced significantly over the next three years.

Recovery for the city, and the city centre in particular, is a key priority for me. That is why I shall be leading on this, together with the Chief Executive, working with businesses and the Chamber of Commerce.

From this week the lockdown restrictions have eased and we look forward to welcoming more people back to the city centre and to our bars and restaurants. It’s another important step towards things returning to normal, and we all welcome that.

I am keeping continuity with my Portfolio Holders, but I am appointing a new Member Champion for Youth and Community Engagement. I would also like to thank Cllr Rachel Sutton, who is stepping down as Deputy Leader of the Council after ten years in the role, and welcome Cllr Laura Wright as my new deputy.

We are a young city and we have to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. We need to ensure we are fully engaged with communities and I am pleased to announce one of our new councillors, Cllr Naima Allcock, will be our Youth and Community Engagement Champion.

Finally, I would like to wish our new Lord Major Cllr Trish Oliver all the very best, together with her Deputy Cllr Ian Quance. I would also like to express my thanks to Cllr Peter Holland, the outgoing Lord Major, and his Deputy Cllr Yoland Henson, who both have represented Exeter very well during his unprecedented two years in office.

So as always there’s a lot going on in our city this summer, and I hope everyone will join me in looking forward to the future with plenty of hope and optimism.

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