news items

This is a summary of the present news items.

Mount Radford Lawn


Two items of news on MRL.
1. The appeal by ERADE against ECC's decision to list the playing field as an Asset Of Community Value has been dismissed. Hurray! 25/3/21
2. We have been told by the Trustees of ERADE that they intend to hold onto the land for five years or more to try for development value again. Boo!

Road changes - Magdalen Road + others in St. Leonards


Because of the pandemic and social distancing DCC have implemented traffic changes all over Exeter, these temporary arrangements are now up for review. Devon County Council has asked for your views on 5 different permanent options for the street.  Read about the most favoured solutions.
If you are interested in how other areas of the country have reacted as well as more information on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods go to our Local traffic Arguments page

Wellbeing Exeter  - Community Cafe


The Newtown & St Leonards Newsletter from our Community Builder, plus a very useful update with shopping and activity info.
Also details of a monthly Community Cafe on Zoom 

Buckerell Lodge - changes afoot


To be demolished and a Residential Home built on the site if ECC Planning allows. 

Bull Meadow


The sinking culvert problem

Roberts Road Church Hall


Plans to develop and now on the market. 

The Hour Glass pub


Really bad news, the most recent tenants have said that they don't want to renew their lease. What's the future for the area's favourite pub?

Cygnet Theatre - our local live theatre


Whats On and Upcoming Shows in the 40th Anniversary season 2021

Rapid Charging Exeter


Some local parking spaces being allocated to charging bays for electric cars.

Leper Hospital uncovered.


Before redevelopment of the Almshouses in Fairpark Rd an archeological survey has been made of the ground beneath.

The news of what's on and what's happening in St Leonards can be found in several places.

the Neighbourhood News

Our wonderful Neighbourhood News gets delivered to 3200 houses in the St Leonards area every two months and it contains articles, advertisements and up-coming events. To find out more go to the Neighbourhood News web page.


Here is a link to our virtual noticeboard which shows the same events and posters as the real noticeboard which is on the green opposite the shops in Magdalen Road.

Wellbeing Exeter

The Newtown & St Leonards Community Builder monthly Newsletter contains a wealth of information about things going on in the area.
Also a quarterly newsletter from Wellbeing Exeter

scroll down to see more




We applied to have MRL listed as an "Asset Of Community Value", Exeter City Council did so.
This does not come with any guarantees of its future, but it is an important step along the way to keeping the playing field as a playing field.
The the owner asked for a review of the decision to list, the review took place and ECC did not change their mind.  
On 13/8/2020 ERADE took ECC's decision to a First Tier Tribunal, the appeal took place 'on screen' in January 2021 and on the 24th March 2021 we heard that the judge's decision was to dismiss their appeal.
A couple of paragraphs from the judge's ruling were as follows; 

"117. I am satisfied that the Land has the potential to be more widely used as a playing field for activities and is suitable for the location of a low-impact community building associated with outdoor playing field facilities and indoor community activities. It is realistic to suppose that the Land could be used for fetes, fairs, concerts, film nights, sports days, competitions and shows throughout the year and thereby further the social wellbeing and social interests of the local community.
118. I found Mr Fitzhugh to be pragmatic and determined and his written and oral evidence demonstrated that he and the SLNA Committee have given serious thought and planning to the realisation of a future continued community use of the Land."

We have asked for discussions with ERADE as to how the future of the land can be determined to the benefit of both our charities, but their response is that they will be keeping the field closed for five years and will try again for development after that, however, if we would like to make them an offer now they will look at it. We will not be sitting back and waiting for 5 years.

To find out how the listing helps us and more, go to the ECC website here.
To see our VISION for how this playing field could be used for the community - click here.


Archeology in Bull Meadow

Throughout the medieval period the proposed development site was part of the endowment of the Magdalen Leper Hospital, established outside the South Gate on the further bank of the Shutebrook valley under the patronage of the Bishops of Exeter sometime in the early 12th century.
In the centre of the site two trenches exposed human remains. These were recorded in situ by a specialist osteoarchaeologist with regards to gender, age and pathologies (disease and cause of death) and in line with Ministry of Justice legislation. No bodies were removed and the remains were reinterred on completion of the archaeological work. The human remains consisted of a total of twelve individuals, including 10 adults, one new born child and one young infant (3-4yrs old), and although none exhibited classic signs of leprosy all had evidence for extensive infections throughout their lives. The pathologies present in the small sample from Fairpark Road may have been caused by a wide variety of illnesses at the time, whether the result of leprosy or simply poverty, and it is unclear whether the remains are associated with the medieval leper hospital or the later poor house. The hospital continued to cater for the upkeep of some of the city’s poor until the late 19th century. Evidence from leper hospital sites in Bristol and Winchester show that burial continued at these sites into the post-medieval period, at a time when leprosy had disappeared in England and they had become almshouses for the sick and disabled poor.
The full report on the archaeological work, including analysis of the human remains and discussion of the finds, will be completed in the summer 2021. The digital archive and a copy of the final report will be stored with the Archaeology Data Service, an online repository that is accessible to the general public (, while the finds will be deposited with the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter.
Marc Steinmetzer, Oakford Archaeology


Changes to traffic flow and special arrangements for pedestrians in St Leonards.

The Covid required temporary changes have been reviewed after a 6 month period and the result of a DCC meeting was that the blocking of traffic on Wonford Rd would go forward to consultation to be made permanent, but that the Magdalen Road changes would be 'urgently' reviewed and greater consultation with the traders and the community would take place. The SLNA issued an Opinion Poll which was responded to by just over 1000 people, the results are here.
A Devon County consulataion took place between 25th February and 25th March 2021 to seek views of residents and stakeholders on options for Magdalen Road.
At a Highways meeting on the 19th July 2021 the results of the consultation were announced.
In summary:
 ‘Pedestrian facilities’ and ‘clean air’ were rated as the most important factors in Magdalen Road by consultation respondents.
 Nearly 75% of resident/visitor respondents agreed with reducing through traffic in Magdalen Road to provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists
Among traders on Magdalen Road, there was a 50:50 split for and against reducing traffic in Magdalen Road.
 The option preferred by the greatest number of respondents was Option 3 (low-traffic street)
 Option 1 (making the temporary layout permanent, see illustration above) also received more positive (agree/strongly agree) than negative (disagree/strongly disagree) responses.
 Only 5% of respondents stated either Option 2a or 2b as their preferred option, with the majority of responses against these options.
Although Option 3 was the most popular, Option 1 would be progressed maybe with some adaptations. It is cheaper and easier to achieve in the near future. As several people have requested, the traffic diversions for the residents of Denmark Rd and Spicer Rd should be reviewed with urgency as those residents were suffering the effects of a rat run.
The minutes of the meeting can be seen in full HERE.


THE HOUR GLASS PUB - what's the situation?
as of May 2021.

Thanks for your interest in The Hourglass. With the help of the local community we were able to secure a designation of an Asset of Community Value for the Hourglass last summer by Exeter City Council. This can help to preserve the building if the owners decide to sell. Following on The Hourglass has also been designated as a grassroots music venue by the Music Venue Trust. This can help secure assistance and funding.

With the recent departure of Simon and Anne The Hourglass is facing uncertain times, but not perhaps the permanent closure that has been intimated online and in the local press.

Unfortunately the lease that The Hourglass has been operated under is no longer available and the owners now wish to appoint tenants, with less security of tenure and limited ability to operate as a true local business and build any net worth.

The building’s owners are Ei, Enterprise Inns, who were taken over by Stonegate, who in turn are owned by TDR Capital, a private equity firm.

The new tenant model does not bode well for The Hourglass. Locally a parallel situation occurred at The Globe in Clifton Street, which was a well run local community pub. Following the departure of well respected landlords it rapidly went downhill, closed permanently and has now undergone a change of use.

We have spoken to Stonegate about the ACV and have ascertained that it is unlikely that they will sell The Hourglass soon, but that could happen if they fail to secure tenants or tenants are unable to succeed in managing the business well.

We have also been in touch with the Plunkett Foundation, who campaign to save community pubs, all of our local councillors and our local MP. We are pleased to report that Ben Bradshaw has written to Robert Jenrick, Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government about the situation and received a reply referencing the £150 million Community Ownership Fund which is being launched this summer. We have also been given much help by our Councillor, Diana Moore. The Music Venue Trust written to Stonegate expressing its concern and offering help. The building is also Grade II listed and Exeter City Council are seeking to ensure that any changes to the building, inside or out, are approved.

There is the possibility that a new operator can negotiate an agreement that will allow them to make The Hourglass a success again and, in the short term, this would be a welcome outcome. But it is possible that The Hourglass may be available for sale in the future and we are looking at ways in which the Community could invest, along with the Community Ownership Fund and secure its long term future. This would clearly be a big undertaking, but one worth serious consideration at this time of uncertainty. In order to look in more detail at the viability of The Hourglass becoming a Community owned pub we first need to ascertain your interest and support in the idea, and to that end we will be shortly launching a consultation with yourselves and the wider customer base of The Hourglass. At this stage we would welcome help from anyone who can offer any relevant skills especially legal, commercial and community engagement on a pro bono basis. We have setup up a Facebook community group, Instagram & Twitter accounts to engage further, under the name of hourglassexeter.

We have been overwhelmed with support in recent days and are feeling our way through it, so we are confident in stating that the future is not bleak, but finding the right agreement with the pub's owners either for an incoming landlord or the community will be challenging.

Many thanks again for your support and if you want a flavour of the Hourglass we suggest a visit to The Iron Bridge Insta: @theironbridge.exeter


Newtown & St Leonards Community Wellbeing News.

Every month Jayne Leaver, our Community Builder, publishes a newsletter of activities, events, photographs and other community goings-on in our area.
To see her latest Newsletter click here.  


Buckerell Lodge redevelopment plan.

McCarthy Stone plan to demolish the existing hotel building and build a 64 apartment residential home for those aged 60 and above.
Their proposals follow a similar ‘U’ shaped footprint as the existing building to ensure the retention and enhancement of the majority of the mature trees throughout the site and to respect the neighbouring amenity. They are also committed to delivering an environmentally friendly and sustainable development, and will be incorporating energy efficient design measures and renewable energy technologies into their proposals as they progress.
There was a public consultation in March, planning permission has been applied for and the meeting is in early September 2021.
To see more details of their plans click here.


Roberts Road Church Hall

The owners, who bought it at auction for £411,000, submitted a planning application to develop it into three, 2+ bedroom houses.
The permission has been granted.
I must say that if the community can’t own or use it as a community hall then this is the next best solution for it. I think that the architects have done a good job in preserving the appeal of the building. There is no chance that the residents will be dirty, bathrooms abound!.
We had feared that it would be allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair that demolishing it would be the only practical solution, thankfully we have been spared that.
The property is now (23/4/21) on the market for £550,000. The agent is Robert Williams,
see the details.
We wish the hall and its future inhabitants well.


Bull Meadow - Culvert problem.

You must have been on another planet if you have not noticed the fenced-off area in Bull Meadow Park which has been there for some years now. In Spring time it gets sewn with a wonderfully colourful mix of wild flowers which is the only good thing about it.
There is a “public service water sewer” underneath it which is collapsing and it is owned by South West Water who are challenging their responsibility to repair it and 69 other such sewers throughout Devon. They claim that it is the responsibility of the landowners to repair these sewers, that would mean, in a lot of cases, private residence’s owners would be responsible for the upkeep of the drains beneath them. After much discussion with Water UK who represent sewer companies, a protocol for such occurrences came into force in February this year and Exeter City Council (ECC) is trying to get SWW to follow this protocol.
ECC believe that “it’s fundamentally wrong for private homeowners and the tax payer to take on the responsibility for the failings of a private company who have had the ownership of these sewers for over 40 years and have invested little in their maintenance and upkeep.”
So let’s hope that something gets done about it soon and that the wild flowers can be sewn somewhere else nearby.
At 10/3/2020 a letter was written from Ben Bradshaw, Matthew Vizard, Richard Branston and Carol Whitton (our MP and Labour Councillors) to South West Water on the issue. READ IT.

Rapid Charging  Exeter - 
Residents of St Leonards Road have received a letter from this company telling them that they have applied to DCC for converting four of the nearest parking bays to electric car charging bays. This initiative will install electric vehicle chargers in local neighbourhoods across the city; bringing rapid charging to where it's needed.  It’s powered by 100% solar energy that’s generated in Devon. No EV?  A partnership with Co Cars car club means that in many locations there’ll be an electric car available to hire by the hour or day. Exeter is a green motoring hotspot, with more sales of electric vehicles than anywhere else in the UK.


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