Our email address is: info@exeterstjamesforum.org



Have your say in selecting an all year round planting for the Longbrook St Planter!

St James Community Trust, having taken over responsibility from Exeter City Council for maintaining the planter at the Longbrook St / Blackall Rd junction, was able to brighten up this neglected corner this spring as the photo below shows:



Now one of Country Life Magazine’s Best Garden and Landscape Design Practices in Britain 2018, 2019 and 2020 has turned their attention to St James, showing support for the local community.

St James’ based garden designer, Hugo Bugg, of Harris Bugg Studio, says ‘There is no corner too small, too unloved, or too battered that cannot be transformed …’ and we are delighted that Hugo, an Associate Member of the Forum, has created four inspirational planting combinations with year round interest, for local residents to consider before voting for their favourite.

Hugo was the youngest ever winner in 2014 of a Gold Award for a large show garden at RHS Chelsea, and now working alongside Charlotte Harris as Harris Bugg Studio, is in demand internationally for their “...soulful gardens that are rich with meaning, mystery, and relevance.” (Architectural Digest)

Each of Hugo’s planting combinations includes the same seasonal uplifts of bulbs and Californian poppies (Eschscholzia) together with differing combinations of base plants to offer four different options. If you would like to see what the specific varieties of plants look like please click on the plant names below each option:

Option 1
Soft purples and blues from Perovskia, Nepeta and Aster contrasting with fresh green grasses of Sesleria. + Seasonal bulbs

Base plants:
Sesleria autumnalis
Perovskia ‘Little spire’
Sedum matrona
Nepeta x faassenii
Aster Monch

Bulbs/seasonal uplifts:
Galanthus nivalis
Narcissus Thalia
Eschscholzia Californica
Tulipa sylvestris
Scilla bifolia
Allium sphaerocephalon


Option 2
Soft yellows and blues with an architectural structure of Calamagrostis + seasonal bulbs

Base plants:
Nepeta x faassenii
Santolina rosmarinifolia var rosmarinifolia
Calamagrostis brachytricha
Aster Monch
Amsonia tabernaemonana

Bulbs/seasonal uplifts:
Galanthus nivalis
Narcissus Thalia
Eschscholzia Californica
Tulipa sylvestris
Scilla bifolia
Allium sphaerocephalon


Option 3
Purples, blues and silvers + seasonal bulb

Base plants:
Sesleria nitida
Salvia caradonna
Stachys byzantina
Perovskia ‘Little spire
Nepeta x faassenii

Bulbs/seasonal uplifts:
Galanthus nivalis
Narcissus Thalia
Eschscholzia Californica
Tulipa sylvestris
Scilla bifolia
Allium sphaerocephalon


Option 4
Soft purples contrasting with bright yellows of Rudbeckia and Hemerocallis + seasonal bulbs

Base plants:
Calamintha nepeta
Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus
Sesleria heufleriana
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'
Aster Monch

Bulbs/seasonal uplifts:
Galanthus nivalis
Narcissus Thalia
Eschscholzia Californica
Tulipa sylvestris
Scilla bifolia
Allium sphaerocephalon


Which would you most like to see transform the planter?

Have your say by using the ‘contact’ facility on this page, with your choice of option 1, 2, 3, or 4, by 31 August. The most popular planting combination will be purchased using a ECC ward grant approved by our City Councillors, and planted up in the autumn.


Police keen to respond rapidly to local covid-19 breaches

Inspector Simon Arliss who leads our local Policing team shares the frustration that the issue of returning students from their initial lockdown homes, to take up residence again in their rented shared houses has still not been resolved.

However, in recognition of the sheer number of the covid-19 breaches, he is keen that his team should respond swiftly to all local reports of breaches to current ‘gatherings’ legislation whenever resources allow.

Thus where there are local gatherings outside of more than 6 people from more than one household or of one or more persons in a house where they do not live (except as permitted ‘bubble’ involving individuals who live alone), Inspector Arliss is now asking residents to call 999.

He has provided the following advice to residents calling 999 to report such gatherings, should the call handler still divert you to report on 101:

May I suggest that residents calling-in state that the local policing team are aware that COVID breaches are occurring and that they are keen to investigate thoroughly. Hence, notwithstanding the availability of police units, if officers are able to attend (whilst the suspected breach is occurring), that will help, considerably to ‘educate’ and ‘enforce’ and therefore deter further breaches.

Residents have now reported rapid attendance following 999 calls and hopefully this will now act as an effective deterrent to others.

A response from the University to the return of students into our community.

ESJF can confirm that the University authorities have now begun to engage with the Forum at a high level, though it continues to claim students are permitted to return to regroup and stay in their HMOs in Exeter despite having moved away immediately prior to lockdown. The lame justification offered is shameful, entirely contrary to all that Government Guidance is seeking to achieve and a clear attempt to make use of perceived loopholes in legislation. The Forum’s challenge continues, as the Steering Group works with councillors and residents’ associations to seek a satisfactory resolution.

Forum Press Release 20 June 2020

Such was the Forum's concern at the University's stance that a press statement was issued (reproduced below). Subsequently the University responded by justifying the return of students from all over the country, to live in their student houses for the final weeks of their tenancy contracts, by claiming this meets Government "moving home" guidance. However this guidance applies only to situations where new contracts are signed either for house purchase or new rental.

Click here to read Exeter University's response to the press release

Click here to see the Forum's reply 

Press Release Reyurning Students

Commitment from Exeter Community Safety Partnership

At the request of Karime Hassan, CEO Exeter City Council, Exeter Community Safety Partnership, a joint Police and ECC initiative, has confirmed its support, stating ‘guidance in relation to social distancing, as well as the specific guidance for those in higher education to which you refer, is not enforceable by the Police or Council. However, our officers will seek to encourage those who are not adhering to the guidance to comply wherever possible’.

University’s ‘top priority’ claim triggers Forum Press Release

On 19 June DevonLive publicised the serious concerns of a local resident at the huge influx of students who have returned to Exeter and are socialising in our community, with scant regard for covid-19 regulations. Fear of the potentially enormous increased risk of coronavirus infection was mentioned and the University of Exeter gave a brief response, commenting:

‘The health and safety of students, staff and the wider community is always our top priority.’

The evidence sadly does not currently support this and the response has led the Steering Group to conclude it could be silent no longer and has now issued the above Press Release to challenge this assertion. The only conclusion that can be reached from the advice issued by the University to students since 27 May is that this is mere rhetoric. Sadly the reality is that the University’s stance is responsible for substantially increasing the risk of a spike of infection in our community, with potential implications for the health of local residents and the speed of economic recovery.

The background: Disbelief and dismay at University’s stance leads to challenge on behalf of residents

Our reading from a trawl of relevant current Government Guidance documents is conclusive and unsurprising; students are permitted to return to Exeter to collect their belongings left behind in their term-time accommodation, but only if they can return whence they came without involving even a single overnight stay and adhere to social distancing and other regulations at all times. They certainly do not have permission to regroup in households, each of some 5 – 12 students, to stay for days or weeks back in St James. The University has been urged to make this clear following Cambridge University which has advised:

PHE advice at 02/06/20 is (also) clear that a general return of students is not yet permitted and, in particular, movements between households where this means moving into a new shared household should not yet be happening.

Exeter University continues to refuse to amend its stance, maintaining its interpretation of regulations is correct, though has repeatedly ignored requests to identify the specific regulations behind its advice. The Steering Group is grateful for the continuing and full backing of our City Councillors and D&C Constabulary Exeter Sector Inspector, Simon Arliss who remain as frustrated as we are. Karime Hassan, CEO Exeter City Council was alerted to the issues on 15 June, and a reply is currently awaited.

We have now asked our County Councillor, Su Aves, to brief Devon County Council’s Director of Public Health asking for investigation of the University’s interpretations of regulations as clarification and issue of appropriate advice to students remains vital.

Recognising the need for a Force-wide statement, Insp. Arliss has escalated the matter via the D&C Covid Command Chain and a definitive police response is expected imminently.

St James’ volunteers show real community spirit!

What a journey we have been on as individuals and as a community these last months! How heartening that so many volunteers came forward to offer help and support to those whose situations required it. Particular thanks go to our Resident’s Associations (RAs), in particular Bury Meadow RA that volunteered to extend the support it offered to its own residents, to those in St James who do not have an RA. Also to Debs Shine who together with Anne Jobson, ESJF Chair, set up a new support group for Old Tiverton Road and Luccombe Court.

Student volunteers praised for joining the community effort

Amongst these volunteers were a number of university students who opted to remain here in our community throughout lockdown and our special thanks go to them for their public-spirited involvement and adhering to covid regulations like the rest of us.

However, no-one in the community will have failed to notice the recent return of hundreds of other students who had left Exeter, dispersing around the country, when the University closed. This has created a very difficult and worrying situation in our community.


Have you joined our Community Trust yet?

Exeter St James Community Trust Ltd, set up by the Forum to take legal responsibility for the QCG project and any other projects brought forward that benefit the St James' community, is working hard to realise the vision first articulated by the community during the Forum's neighbourhood planning consultations.

Trust Membership is open to any individual, or any incorporated or non-incorporated organisation, keen to see the improvement of St James whether they live in St James or not.

The Forum would like to encourage each of our Members and Associate Members to become a member of the Trust. If this is something you have yet to get round to, why not complete the appropriate downloadable form today (click here and scroll down the page) and send it off with payment for a minimum of 5 £1 shares?

Become a member of this charitable society devoted exclusively to making St James a great place to live and work!


ESJF LEGAL FUND ..........

               click here for the background to this appeal






Welcome to the Exeter St James Forum website where we bring you news, features, information and announcements about a Neighbourhood Plan to enhance the area in which we live.

The Government has introduced new planning policies which have given more power to local people. The Localism Act was given Royal Assent in November 2011 and communities are being encouraged to prepare neighbourhood plans to influence what happens in their area.

A group of residents’ associations and individuals, representing most parts of St James, joined forces as the Exeter St James Forum with the aim of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for the ward. Following a two year process the Plan received a 'Big Yes Vote' in a referendum on, 2 May 2013. The now fully adopted plan sets out a vision for St James and our priorities for the future. Exeter City Council and Devon County Council will take the plan into account when making planning and development decisions. The plan should also help the community to secure funding for projects to improve the area. Find out more.

 The three key priorities are...  


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Our Email address is – info@exeterstjamesforum.org 

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Latest About St James Issue 11, July 2020

About St James Issue 10, December 2019

About St James Issue 9, May 2019

About St James Issue 8, December 2018

About St James issue 7, May 2018

About St James issue 6, December 2017

About St James issue 5. May 2017

About St James Issue 4, December 2016

About St James Issue 3, April 2016

About St James Issue 2, September 15

About St James Issue 1, April 15




To advertise your business here and support the high profile Queen's Crescent Garden Project please get in touch CLICK. From just £50 a year! Includes a link to your website and insertion in "About St James"  the joint Trust/Forum newsletter delivered twice a year to every property in St James


WELL, WELL, WELL..Find out more about the ancient holy well discovered in Well Street

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Following on from a Big Yes vote for Exeter St James Neighbourhood Plan on 2nd May 2013, the Plan was officially adopted by Exeter City Council on 16 July 2013. Find out more in Newsletter 18

The Plan now forms part of Exeter’s statutory development plans and the policies it contains will be used to help determine planning applications.

Congratulations from Nick Boles MP & Right Hon Don Foster MP CLICK

See the Neighbourhood Plan Main Document   CLICK