New projects for 2023 are shaping up: Active Travel and Tree Preservation

At the meeting of the 'Strategic Planning & Highways Group' on 3 May 2023, the group decided to start looking into setting up a new project: We want to look into what the catch phrase 'Active Travel' used by so many locally and defined so little really can mean for Exeter. Our pro-active thinking then hopefully will inform future planning initiatives of DCC and ECC. A small working group of us will also look into the situation with tree preservation in Exeter. Get into contact with us if you are interested in either of the two new activities (details see below).

The great success of our ‘Wider Water Lane Project’ in 2022 motivated us to try to set up a new project despite our human resources being stretched already. We want to take suggestions to our ‘New Members’ Event’ on 22 May and the Heritage Harbour Festival on 28 May, with the hope that we might recruit further members for the two projects.

What does Active Travel mean for Exeter?

All the new developments speak of ‘active travel’ as a main feature. DCC’s  Draft ‘Exeter Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan’ speaks of a modal shift to active travel, but then ‘underuses’ opportunities to set this into motion. Liveable Neighbourhoods will be a key element of active travel, and with a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) in planning for Heavitree, but seriously delayed or even on hold, there is some active engagement on a strategic level required. Cllr Carol Bennett from Heavitree published an open letter responding to concerns around the introduction of this scheme on 23 April 2023. The BBC on 17 April 2023  ran a Panorama program ‘Road Wars: Neighbourhood Traffic Chaos’. All this shows it would be good to discuss key issues and come up with ideas, may be even develop another prospectus.

We are currently taking the temperature and hoping to recruit members for a working party on this. ECS members and interested citizens can contact the chair of the SP&H group to signal interest. You reach Gert under gertvonhoff@btinternet.com .

Update 29 May 2023: So far we received notes of interest from the St David’s Councillors on Exeter City Council, a neighbourhood group working on the Heavitree LTN, and other people from the public. Please contact us, as we want to set up a round table event for the autumn.

Update 30 June 2023: Active Streets Heavitree and Whipton has been given green light for trial by DCC, read more here.

Update 2 August 2023: Our SP&H Group is planning a meeting focussing on our response to the consultation about ‘Heavitree & Whipton Active Streets Trial’., which is expected to go live on 3 August. Read here more about the trial.

 

Tree Preservation in the City of Exeter

At the same meeting we started forming a working party to look into what can be done to improve tree protection in our city. It is good to see efforts being made to further develop the Valley Parks. But too often we have just seen mature trees vanishing in our city scape. The tree preservation website from ECC has been more or less out of service for update since summer 2022. We want to see the maps and listings of ‘Tree Preservation Orders’ and ‘Conservation Areas’ updated soon, and then develop a working relationship with ECC’s Tree Manager in order to see what can be done to safe mature trees within the city.

Interested? Want to join the working party? Then contact Gert under gertvonhoff@btinternet.com .

Update 29 May 2023: Our little working group is taking shape, but there is still time to enrol for this. We established contact with ECC’s Tree Officer, and asked about the trees on Denmark Road alongside the old swimming pool, he said he would recommend setting up a Tree Protection Order for them. A first step for our team and hopefully one of many in our campaign for the green canopy in our city.