Ideas to shape the future QUALITY OF DEVELOPMENT

This is an interesting one and important. Many of the ideas proposed are “Garden City Principles” and are broadly positive ambitions. The detail lies in the LANGUAGE used. Please use the following suggestions to guide your comments >

“Distinctive development” must ensure the protection of local identity and character. Strict penalties for damage, degradation, encroachment and endangerment of green
infrastructure, wildlife habitats and biodiversity should be rigorously enforced
. We’ve learnt the hard way from the Home Farm development in Pinhoe that a ‘distinctive’ development must be required to respect the landscape of its setting.

Exeter’s natural and historic environment should be formally protected and its locally distinct heritage formally evaluated by a process of consultation with communities and experts before enhancement Again, an emphasis on community engagement to underpin development decisions with local democracy – not just optional Neighbourhood Planning which requires tremendous investment from community members, but policy protection from the Local Plan

Communities must be consulted regarding opportunities for infrastructure development. Want to have a say about infrastructure investment in your community? This one’s for you!

Provision of green spaces should be underpinned by the following:
> Enhanced developer contributions to support the city’s green infrastructure network should be written into the Local Plan’s ideas for future development, underlining their value as core assets and integral to the Net Zero vision
> Green spaces should remain in public ownership and not ceded to developer management companies; development should be conditional on sustainable funding models
> Management of green spaces should be sustainably funded and the successful partnership with the Devon Wildlife Trust extended as part of developing resilience to future change
> Exeter’s green spaces should be audited and mapped to ensure and maintain high standards of wildlife habitats and biodiverse environments

Some important clarification which takes the Plan’s intentions beyond “provision”. Please include this one if you can

LOCAL PLAN: Question 4


What does this mean? The Plan lists “ideas” based on Exeter as a “Garden City” > this means there is government support to ensure the city grows in a sustainable way with high quality development for local communities.

The ideas are very broad in scope and use language which gives the Council a lot of wriggle room

This box is the space for comments to tie ambitions to more secure intentions backed by policy. Here are some suggestions:

Nature Recovery Networks should be prioritised over smaller developments on the edge of the city. Exeter’s Fringes present an opportunity for a connected landscape of green spaces with a ‘wildbelt’ around the city. The value of the Exeter Fringes were referenced in the last Local Plan and should be re-evaluated to support the sustainable vision of the new Plan. This needs to replace the intention for “smaller developments on the edge of the city” which gives no direction of protection

“Steering development away from sensitive environmental areas” should be replaced by “strategic protection for the city’s green skyline and connecting green spaces” as distinctive landscapes with social, environmental and carbon capture value through emerging economic, investment and management models Again, language is so important here. Cut and paste this one if you value the Green Skyline please!

Public rights of way should be developed, connected and formally protected as part of proposals to maximise walking and cycling networks For anyone who supports sustainable travel and wants to see public rights of way protected as connecting routes across the city. The ideas presented suggest “locating development to maximise walking, cycling and public transport” – very important and good to support, but in need of detail to ensure the protection of existing rights of way. Historic routes have been lost in Pinhoe, with no community consultation or alternative.


Comments on the VISION statement of the Local Plan

The new plan proposes Exeter as ‘a leading sustainable city and global leader in addressing the challenges of climate change and urbanisation’. This is supported by a Corporate Plan with 7 key elements: for Exeter to be “analytical and innovative”, “healthy and inclusive”, “the most active city” with “world-class education” as a “liveable and connected” and “leading sustainable” city supported by a rich cultural life.

Here are some suggestions to put green infrastructure at the heart of the vision >

The unique contribution of green infrastructure and its vital role in Exeter’s transition to a low carbon future should be formally recognised, protected and enhanced across all of the vision statements and policy commitments, aims and planning directives in this new Local Plan. Adding this to your comments in this section would help to place green infrastructure at the heart of the Local Plan Vision – shifting the city’s green spaces to the front and centre of policy development and underlining their immense social value to everyone living in Exeter

Exeter’s green spaces should be connected across the city to provide an integrated network of prioritised public access points. This green network should underpin the vision for Exeter to be the most active and accessible city in England, integral to the ambitions of the Corporate Plan to promote active healthy lifestyles By adding this to your comments on the Plan’s Vision, you shift the value of green spaces to the centre of policy commitments

The Local Plan proposals centre on a vision for GROWTH. But there are exciting new economic models that are far more reflective of sustainable approaches to future challenges. These models centre on the importance of creating the conditions for THRIVING communities. This change in language could begin an important shift in local policies.

The need for a change in thinking is flagged in the Council’s own appraisal of previous Local Plans, where it recognises the need to “rethink how high streets function”. Moving the emphasis to thriving neighbourhoods would enable a funding shift away from the city centre and towards infrastructure support for local neighbourhoods.

If you believe that a change in direction which puts support for communities at the heart of the vision for Exeter, now is the time and this is the question box to have your say. If you want to know more about the new economics, have a look at Doughnut Economics – it’s even been on EastEnders 😉

LOCAL PLAN: Question 2

Are the issues discussed in the proposed Local Plan the main issues facing Exeter? Are there any which should be changed, added or removed?

Another massively open-ended question! But let’s focus on the opportunity to have your say on anything you feel is under threat in your area – it could be local services, or problems with traffic, maybe you feel HEALTH SERVICES need greater priority, or facilities for young people should be prioritised. This is where you should add anything you feel strongly about. Using your own words is often really powerful.

Here are some suggestions with a Pinhoe perspective >

1. Opportunities for a Nature Recovery Network connecting Exeter’s Valley Parks to the Clyst Valley Regional Park should be added to the strategic vision for the Local Plan by incorporating a protected Ridgeline Park as a ‘wildbelt’ across the Northern Hills

2. Formal protection for the Northern Hills landscape with policy commitments to safeguard land across the adjacent Exeter Fringes from development

3. Commitments to build on the successful partnership with Devon Wildlife Trust should be included, celebrating the success of Exeter Wild City, the Valley Parks and Saving Devon’s Treescapes

4. An evidence-based approach for healthy air and noise pollution levels should drive Local Plan targets, in line with World Health Organisation advice

5. Community consultation and social value should be incorporated as directional forces when considering “the right way, time and place” for infrastructure development. We note the vague language of the Local Plan which neither acknowledges the role of local residents or the importance of social value considerations.

5a. Commitments to secure funding to build the Pinhoe Community Hub should be included as essential infrastructure development – it’s not on the list at the moment and should be considered urgent and essential

Anything else you think should be included? Contact mail@portfoliofive.co.uk


Comments on the CONTENT of the new Local Plan and it’s relationship with other plans

Do you know what other plans there are?

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan was rejected by East Devon District Council and Mid Devon. But the need for a plan which connects these areas and understands the context for development, remains essential. So the process is beginning again
• Devon County Council has a range of Highways strategies and policies, Low Carbon targets and Net Zero ambitions which affect Exeter
• National Planning Policy and the new Environment Bill currently going through parliament

Some suggestions for comments:

Renewed consultations for the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan should be incorporated into the formal consultation process for the Local Plan. This should take place before a Draft Local Plan is produced, because:
• Commuter gateways substantively influence any sustainable transport network and infrastructure investments proposed or envisaged by the Local Plan and will impact the Corporate Plan’s ambitions to tackle congestion and accessibility
• The Greater Exeter area is the context of and setting for the “exceptional
environmental setting” described in the Local Plan Vision
• A complex systems view should be integral to the city’s planning process, not only for transport, economic drivers and social value but also ecosystem impacts specifically to wildlife at a county level, including European protected species.
This would also provide an opportunity for ECC to update its SCI requirement and
address current inadequacies in community engagement mechanisms

Conflicts with DCC Highways plans should be identified and opportunities for integration and innovation explored. For example, the Pinhoe Area Access Strategy and Addendum is currently in conflict with the Exeter Transport Strategy. This is connected to financial provisions for the Highways programme through developer contributions. Public consultation should be provided

Exeter’s Local Plan should be integrated with Devon County Council Low Carbon policies to amplify local aggregation opportunities. It’s a climate emergency and integrated thinking is essential.

Policies and opportunities within Natural England’s Nature Recovery Network Strategies Planning should be referenced and included as part of the new Local Plan. This relates specifically but not exclusively to the opportunity to connect Nature Recovery areas in Exeter’s Valley Parks to those in the Clyst Valley Regional Park by establishing a Ridgeline Park area across the Northern Hills. There is potential for a ‘wildbelt’ area around the city which is connected by a network of public green spaces (Exeter Green Circle, Valley Parks and more).

A systems-thinking approach to mapping complexities and identifying opportunities for new economic and environmental modelling, should be embedded across all relationships with other plans to ensure maximum integration at a time of climate emergency. It’s a new approach to bringing clarity and new perspectives to complex planning systems. The Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter is a leading centre for expertise

Please cut and paste however you feel best represents your views. Get in touch if any clarification would help you: mail@portfoliofive.co.uk


When residents of Pinhoe reached out for help to protect Higher Field and all the amazing wildlife living there, we found connection with people across the city who understand and share the alarm we feel. We joined forces, signing the petition to protect green fields and the green skyline which circles our beautiful city and shapes our sense of how we feel about where we live. Thank you to every single one of you who made the effort to sign the petition. It worked. The field is saved – for now.

Pinhoe is not the model for development. It’s the warning

After presenting our proposal to the Scrutiny Committee, councillors from across the political divide asked us to find a way for everyone who signed the petition to share their views on the Local Plan.

After months of work researching the petition, discussing and developing workable ideas, presenting the proposal for a Ridgeline Park across the Northern Hills and ensuring it relates to and connects with local and national policies, organisations and opportunities, a small group of us sat down to examine the Local Plan.

The challenge

This new Local Plan is a complex connection of documents, often using specialist language relating to many different fields of expertise. It sets out planning priorities, development values, a vision for the city based on its growth, and an ambition for Exeter to be a “global leader in addressing social, economic and environmental challenges of climate change and urbanisation”.

This is a plan which sets the Council’s values for the next TWENTY YEARS. It will be referenced in EVERY planning application and EVERY application for funding. Every time there’s a need for a road or a school, jobs or health services, whether it’s community services for young people or active travel routes, whether it’s public green spaces or private land, THIS LOCAL PLAN WILL LEAD THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

Are you ready?

All this boils down to FIVE QUESTIONS presented in a survey as the consultation with every resident in Exeter.

Each question has a box with up to 5000 characters (approx 850 words) for you to fill in. No wonder people have been asking for help!

When we vote in national and local elections the process is clear, whether or not the politics are. Please don’t let this extraordinarily influential document pass you by without having a say

What next >

Working with local organisations and planning experts, gathering views from local residents across Pinhoe and the city of Exeter, we’ve written some points to highlight key strategic statements.

There are 5 main questions, so you’ll find 5 blog posts with information on some of the main points.

Each question is broken into points with statements and recommendations. If you agree with any or all of the points, you can cut and paste into the survey boxes found here: https://wh.snapsurveys.com/siam/surveylanding/interviewer.asp

We’ve worked hard to stick to national and international guidelines and connect to evidence relating to community concerns. We have no political affiliation. If you have any comments or would like to contribute, please get in touch: mail@portfoliofive.co.uk


There are questions about Exeter City Council’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) which is required by law, out of date and cannot be considered a functioning basis for connecting or consulting with communities. The consultation process for this Local Plan provides overwhelming evidence of the need for a complete rethink.

Whether we like the process or not, whether it’s fit-for-purpose or whether it’s crying out for new thinking, the deadline for you to submit your views is MONDAY 15th NOVEMBER at 5pm. PLEASE PLAY YOUR PART IN LOCAL DEMOCRACY

Petition > Strategic Scrutiny

Presented to Exeter City Council’s Strategic Scrutiny Committee at Exeter’s Guildhall, Thursday 23rd September 2021

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak today and respectful of the expertise of this committee. I’m also grateful to my local councillor David Harvey who advised me to be myself, to focus on the petition and to only ask the council to do what the council can do.

As a systems convener, I’m interested in bringing people together across social and commercial interests to generate collective solutions to complex, systemic challenges. Like this.

Green infrastructure in Pinhoe has been deteriorating over time and the network it provides for nature and wildlife is collapsing.

I can quote the Treeconomics Survey, commissioned by Exeter City Council, that shows Pinhoe has the lowest tree canopy cover in the city. And I can show you the Devon hedgerows brimming with biodiversity, full of trees and wildlife, running along key routes through Pinhoe – hedgerows that come to an abrupt halt, where they have been removed and reduced to a single plant in a single pot standing alongside the developer’s advertising boards.

As a community in Pinhoe, we’ve been watching this happen with increasing anxiety; we’re not alone. We’ve been contacted by groups devastated by the scale of wildlife loss in their area. Many are looking for inspiration and most, quite frankly, are looking for hope.

So here it is: I present to you our idea for a Ridgeline Park to protect the distinctive landscape of the Northern Hills and connect across the city and beyond. This Ridgeline Park would make so many connections – not only to the city’s Valley Parks at Mincinglake by extending the Green Circle walk, but reaching all the way across to the Greater Exeter area at Poltimore, Cranbrook and the Clyst Valley Park. And beyond, through the Two Counties Way, to Somerset!

We see a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to safeguard local green spaces for local people to encounter local wildlife, with all the wellbeing benefits that brings.

There’s an amazing network of green spaces across Exeter which could track so many routes to connect everything in the most amazing resource for the whole city. It develops the narrative of Exeter’s Garden City status in the most powerful way, enhancing the Council’s reputation for its regional ambition and directional policymaking, notwithstanding the challenges of government planning directives.

Importantly, it would shift the Council’s narrative from GROWING the city, to building a city that THRIVES.

What can the Council do?

  • Local landowners need new policy frameworks to explore carbon offsetting and other nature recovery investment models. The expertise is out there and Natural England has already begun this process.
  • Local Plan consultations need new models of mapping and protecting green infrastructure to recharge the sense of civic participation.
  • Council can develop new models for community housing: local housing for local people, alongside the Liveable Exeter and Net Zero plans. Integrating conversations with developers in a local conversation.

This sort of community wealth-building approach is gaining momentum nationally. Exeter City Council has the opportunity to lead our city at this moment, as it builds the new Local Plan and looks to reimagine relationships with our neighbours across the Greater Exeter area.

The Ridgeline Park project achieves all these objectives.

The World Health organisation announced yesterday that it has HALVED its recommended guideline limits for particulate pollution. I suggest to this committee that there are many roads in Exeter which would fail this limit multiple times on a daily basis. The climate crisis is also a crisis of our wellbeing.

From Pinhoe, we urge you to create change. To begin the process of priority and policy that can uniquely shape this city in a new direction that will protect our green infrastructure. We want to work with the Council to create this PROJECT OF HOPE, beginning with the Northern Hills, founded on practical potential, demonstrating social and environmental value to all of Exeter. “

Thank you / Kate Jago

Our Local Knowledge

As we move towards becoming a social enterprise, it’s time to share some of the research, training and ideas behind our new project.

We’ll update these pages with references to our research, learning from our training, and info on all the connections we’re making not only locally, but nationally

Eastern Fields’ Village Green

Here’s some info about the 2016 campaign to stop a road cutting through Eastern Fields:

“We are a group of local residents who are fighting to save an urban green oasis & register it as a village green to keep it safe for future generations.
Eastern fields is a much used and valued green space between Exhibition Way and Harrington Lane, Pinhoe Exeter. It is surrounded by housing estates and industrial land. It has been used since the 1950’s for informal recreation. In recent years the city council has spent thousands of pounds in planting young trees to encourage wildlife and these areas of trees are growing well and the birds, insects and animals have all moved into their new habitat. It also has a new and much used cycle path linking two primary schools as well as other destinations and is valued for the safety and peacefulness of the route. It is a tranquil and pleasant environment. It is a place where children have played for generations, whether ball games or building dens. Eastern Fields is a green space in an urban environment. It is valued for all the benefits that green and open spaces give to people.
There are massive developments planned for the eastern side of the city and Eastern Fields will be even more needed as green space. The area is important to our community and we do not want to lose it. It is a unique and beautiful place and part of our local history. Our city council is planning a link road through the field as well as industrial development on the lower half. We do not believe it is necessary to have industrial development on this land given the extent of land in the surrounding area already being developed for industrial use. Neither do we believe that the proposed road would solve Pinhoe’s traffic problems to the extent that merits the loss of such valuable recreation land and wildlife habitat. As people and residents who value the field we are therefore campaigning to try to preserve and protect it.”

The campaign video has some brilliant shots of the connection to Cheynegate Lane and you can just about see the walk to the top fields >


You can also see the connection through to the business park, with a clear view of the track for the proposed Highways Link Road >

We’re looking for documents which evidence the process of campaigning, as well as Council planning and appeal – please get in touch if you can help with this #localexpertise! mail@portfoliofive.co.uk

Northern Hills Campaign

The campaign begins HERE > Trees, hedges and fields along the top of Pinhoe are full of history, from Armada Beacons to Saxon Hoards and battle sites. They’re a network for wildlife and safeguard biodiversity in bramble-wild spaces.

Cheynegate Lane, tracking along the boundary fringe, is a magnificent holloway and one of the very few remaining (almost) intact in Pinhoe. Along its edges you can trace evidence of the Crackington Formation: deep time geology connecting all the way to the Jurassic coast, with resources of clay famously exploited by Pinhoe’s Brickworks.

The top of the village has magnificent views of the Exe estuary, which often surprise visitors from the rest of the city. When the wind blows in, you can breathe the sea air.

Local people walk these fields every day. Paths and bridleways are well worn and much loved. There are footpaths connecting to Beacon Heath, lined with fantastic high Devon hedgerows bursting with biodiversity along a quiet road which would make a wonderful Green Lane.

That’s why our campaign begins here: to protect these natural resources for all our community we need a STRATEGIC PLAN.

BUT THE CAMPAIGN IS FOR ALL OF PINHOE > Take a look at the holloway in Monkerton, along historic Pinn Lane which has been cut in two, cutting off safe access for pedestrians and cyclists, degraded by developers loading soil to its edge until sections collapse.

This is what it looked like in May 2019
And this is what it looked like in February 2020, with soil from the Sandrock development stored right up to its edge and collapsing through to the path

And Gypsy Hill Lane – look at the concrete steps which cut this historic path in two! The road at the top is one of the main routes into East Devon and was designed, agreed and put in place by the Monkerton Masterplan.

This was already happening in July 2019 and no amount of conversations with the site manager of Linden Homes was getting anything done to safeguard this beautiful lane

If you have photos to document the destruction of Pinhoe’s network of historic paths and hedgerows, please get in touch: mail@portfoliofive.co.uk