Local News Items 

click THE WRITING on each photo to get to the article.

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



As reported in the last issue of the Neighbourhood News, the future of Mount Radford Lawn looks rosier than it has done over the last few years. The Deaf Academy, the owners, want to celebrate their 200th anniversary by bringing MRL into use as ‘a social space’, and as an opportunity to ‘celebrate our shared history, the value of community and cultural diversity in creating a legacy for generations to come.’ A feasibility study is being undertaken and is due to report in mid May, the SLNA committee has met with Ben Hunt (Heavitree Parklife) who is leading the study and made very good suggestions as to how the land facilities might be used and laid out. I hope and believe that the wider community will be involved in consultations later. The Deaf Academy have issued a press release which is published here below and which has been sent to other publications, it all seems very good news, I thank them for it and look forward to working with them to transform MRL from a locked up space with potential to an open space available for use by the deaf community and the community of St Leonards.
Sylvan Dewing , the head of the Deaf Academy, addressed our AGM on the 16th May and answered questions from some of the members of the community.

PRESS RELEASE BY DEAF ACADEMY - Feasibility Study Launched for Mount Radford Lawn in Exeter
The Deaf Academy is delighted to announce plans for a comprehensive feasibility study for Mount Radford Lawn in Exeter - to be potentially transformed into a multi-functioning, multi-use space that meets the needs of the wide-ranging community.
Mount Radford Lawn is an unused parcel of Urban Green Space in St Leonards, Exeter, which is owned by the Deaf Academy.
The Academy relocated from its Topsham Road site (adjacent to Mount Radford Lawn) to Exmouth in 2020. However, it remains extremely proud of its extensive history and continued roots with the city, dating back to 1826. It also has a considerable alumni of former staff and students living in Exeter.
It is now researching how it could create both a permanent legacy as a long-standing provider of Deaf education, as well as an attractive, vibrant and sustainable community space.
This project will tie in with the Academy’s plans for its Bicentennial celebrations in 2026. It will have an emphasis on celebrating the Deaf community, Deaf culture and Deaf identity. It will also focus on the Academy’s priorities for supporting inclusion, education, special education needs and British Sign Language.
The Academy has now commissioned an independent professional who has expertise in this field of work; having helped establish the successful Park Life community space in Exeter’s Heavitree Park. He will liaise with key stakeholders, build a community around the project and recommend a way forward.
This will take place from March to June 2024. A Feasibility Report will then be produced at the end of  June 2024 with key recommendations for the future of Mount Radford Lawn.
Anyone wishing to engage in this feasibility study can email mrl@thedeafacademy.ac.uk, stating your interest.
This web page serves as a public timeline and will be kept updated at each stage in this project’s progress.


Weirfield Road - a sorry tale of careless planning permissions.

The proposal to make the site access of a new Residential Home and a new Care home onto Weirfield Road was passed with little thought to the practicality, safety, historic road closures, Dept of Health Regulations and residents' needs.  The argument against this, made to ECC by the SLNA and very strongly by the residents of Weirfield Rd and others is why should developers be allowed to use the public highway as their driveway, they should create access directly onto the main Topsham Road.
Another point which seems to be being ignored is that The Department Of Health recommends that healthcare premises have two vehicular accesses for safety reasons. Should a fire occur or other incident requiring emergency vehicles to access the site and one vehicle access was disabled then there would be another.

After an appeal and many complaints a Planning Dept. decision has been made to allow a Residential home with access (shared with the Care Home ) off Weirfield Road, even though this could result in emergency vehicle, or any vehicle access being blocked more often than it would be if the access was directly onto Topsham Rd. No requirement has been placed on the developers to add a second access from Topsham Road. A great mistake and we hope it doesn't result in a medical emergency not being able to be served quickly enough. If people are hurt or lives are lost because of carelessly given planning permissions, then the authorities will be answerable.


Devon County Council selling off under-used assets

Matford Lane DCC sale - land between The Coaver Club & Matford Lane
“Notice is hereby given that Devon County Council intends to dispose of an area of approximately 0.6 hectares of land known as land and buildings at the Matford Office Site, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, Devon EX2 4QD, part of which is considered to be open space land.”

The community managed to persuade the DCC Cabinet, which met on the 9th Feb. to defer the decision to sell that piece of land. 
The sale of a piece of Devon County Council land in Matford lane, is being re-ruminated on in the corridors of County Hall.
The other money raising-action being taken by DCC is the sale of Larkbeare House. Larkbeare House is the last remaining substantial and significant nineteenth century house standing in its own walled garden in Exeter. Other houses of different styles and periods remain but they are not complete within their own separate grounds. The house and gardens were advertised for sale and tenders were requested by Vickery Holman the agents, several tenders were received and one has been accepted, we have been told that it will be used as a private dwelling. Exeter Civic Society, supported by the SLNA, are asking Historic England (HE) to list the whole of the house and gardens. HE, who are very thorough in their research and consultations, are consulting on the listing of the ground, the summerhouse and the garden steps. The Civic Society are monitoring the process closely.
As at May 2024 - Cllr Whitton said,"The Matford Lane sale is due to go back to the cabinet for a decision in the Autumn. An 'options' report is currently in preparation following the consultation. If I am able to glean any information about the direction this is going in, I will update at the AGM. But I suspect it will all be kept pretty tight until it goes to cabinet."


Cedars Road - plea for common sense to prevail.

A while ago some residents of Cedars Road, a small cul-de-sac in St Leonards, decided that they’d like to tidy up a little patch of weed and bramble-covered land at the end of the road (see picture). The land is shown in this photo and is 25 sq m, about the size of a small sitting room. They could have gone about it two ways, ask the owner for permission, or just got on with it as the owner clearly wasn’t too fussed about it’s appearance. They decided to ‘do the right thing’ and ask the owner if they could improve its look by planting some flowers and keeping it maintained. Big mistake! The owner was Devon County Council (DCC) and their wheels of bureaucracy rolled into action.
DCC’s response was that the residents group should:-
Enter into a legal licensing agreement with DCC.
Take out Public Liability insurance for a liability sum of £5M and indemnify the owner from all claims.
The land must be grassed over, seeded or turfed at no cost to DCC when the licence ends, this could be at any time.

Something tells me that no one at DCC has looked at this site, they’ve just taken a big book of rules off the shelf and applied them. Admittedly a passer-by might get hit by a falling daffodil or a developer might want to buy the land for housing development at short notice, but that’s in the realms of fiction. Devon County Council should display a more human, sensible face and be glad that a small grubby corner of their land was being improved by community action.
I feel hopeful that if a planting plan was drawn up, DCC invited to meet the residents at the site and a simple written undertaking of ownership and behaviour produced, that common sense could prevail and the Guerilla Gardening could begin. If the residents wanted any money for plants or seeds I’m sure that the SLNA would agree to help, encouraging community activities is what we do.
As at May 2024 - The plants have started to grow, but we are not impressed with the look of the site, we fear that if it looks worse than the untended state it was in before DCC will make efforts to apply the rule book.


Newtown & St Leonards Community Builder News.

Up to March 2024 St leonards has been linked with Newtown for the services of a Community Builder, but in her last Newsletter to us Maisaa said, ""The immediate next phase of Wellbeing Exeter has changed the way in which Community Builders will serve their communities. From 1st April 2024 to the end of June, Community Builders will cover priority areas rather than the whole of the city.
Please note that St Leonards will not have a dedicated Community Builder for their ward during this phase. For more information, please go to
Therefore, I will sadly be stopping my cover in St Leonards area by the end of March. Going forward, I will be covering Newtown and St James. For volunteering opportunities across Exeter please follow the link below:
Best wishes,
Maisaa Sweid 


The Dissenters' graveyard.

It is closed to the public during winter months, but open on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the summer. 
See the EDGT website for full details.

It's not a boring old graveyard! Read about the interesting people who are buried there on the information boards and take your smart phone to click the QR codes to read the life stories.


St Luke's Campus redevelopment.

St Lukes campus redevelopment plans for Medical School buildings. Info & Consultation links.
St Luke’s Campus is included in The Exeter Plan Full Draft Regulation 18 (October
2023) as a ‘New Transformational employment allocation’ (Policy EJ6):
The St Luke’s site forms part of the University of Exeter’s campus and currently provides academic, administrative, sports and social facilities for the University of Exeter. The site will require redevelopment to provide a future health campus, to consolidate health and wellbeing activities and help the University to scale up its biomedical and clinical research and associated commercialisation.
Redevelopment of the campus will also strengthen the existing research and teaching links between the University and the Royal Devon University Healthcare Trust. Proposals at St Luke’s will need to be of a high quality and appropriate in the context of the wider residential area. Proposals will need to demonstrate through the preparation of a masterplan framework regard for the environmental and heritage assets on site and in the surrounding area.
To provide feedback, please fill in a feedback
form today or via our website:

In the Summer of 2024, the University plans to
submit a final masterplan framework to Exeter
City Council for endorsement and to feature as
part of the new Exeter Plan.
John Vickery is the project manager.
If you have any queries about the proposal for St. Luke's Campus, please contact: campusdevelopment@exeter.ac.uk 

Display materials giving more information can be found HERE


Fairpark Rd temporary traffic flow - & magdalen Road safety audit.

These subjects were raised at the 2024 AGM and our DCC Councillor carol Whitton said,
"I understand that the current temporary traffic order for the one way Magdalen Road extension to Fairfield Park will also need to return to the Highways and Traffic Orders Committee at some point within the next 6 months. As yet, I do not have a date for when this will happen.

The third stage safety audit of Magdalen Road has been completed. A number of its recommendations have been implemented, including:
• Relocating some of the ‘Loading Only’ traffic signs to make these more prominent, to encourage loading within the bays provided
• Providing signage opposite the echelon parking bays to remind drivers to proceed left when exiting the bays
• Providing additional contraflow cycle lane markings and signage

As far as I am aware, the most concerning aspect of the new road layout has been the way in which the use of the delivery bays brings contraflow cyclists using the marked cycle lane into conflict with oncoming vehicles. This was raised in the Road Safety Audit with a recommendation that the loading bays were widened into the footway, thereby reducing the usable footway width. The Highways planners considered that this would have a disproportionate adverse impact on pedestrians, and would not be in line with the hierarchy of road users, which prioritises pedestrians over cyclists and other road users. Therefore, this recommendation was not implemented.