Last updated: 21st June 2014



The application for planning permission to build student accommodation and a new pavilion went to Exeter City Council Planning Committee on Monday 16th June. The City Council officers recommended that permission be granted and after objectors and supporters had been heard, followed by some questioning and discussion, permission was granted.

Exeter St James Forum's Neighbourhood Plan contains 2 particularly relevant policies, SD1 and D1. SD1 supports the Cricket Club’s development, in order to achieve a viable future at the County Ground site, as long as high standards of design and construction are applied. Policy D1 details the criteria for good quality design that 'all new development within St James must demonstrate'. It is important to note that the Neighbourhood Plan’s policies are of statutory importance and to take precedence over previous ECC plans for St James.

By the time this recommendation went to committee the Forum’s Design Panel (set up to monitor important planning applications) was still not happy with the proposed building which it sees as not sufficiently iconic for such an important site, too bulky, with materials not suitable for a conservation area. Di Boston, ESJF Chair, spoke in opposition to the application, arguing it was not sufficiently compliant with the Neighbourhood Plan, and was supported by a petition signed by 27 people at the Forum’s AGM. Ward Councillor Keith Owen also spoke to that effect. Councillor Kevin Mitchell proposed deferring the decision but after a vote the application was approved.

Of course this is good news for the future of the Cricket Club but visually it will bring the University into the conservation area in a detrimentally imposing way.

The Forum’s Steering Group will meet soon to review and discuss what has happened.


AGM 14th June

A successful AGM was held at St Sidwell’s School on the afternoon of June 14th.

It was preceded by a presentation of the work undertaken by LDA Design in establishing detailed concept plans for Queen’s Crescent Garden and to outline the next steps. Exeter City Council is continuing to make progress towards the compulsory purchase of the garden and ESJF expects a suitable company for ownership to be registered imminently.

At the AGM a new Steering Group was elected and Di Boston stood down as Chair after her year of office – a new Chair will be elected by the Group at its first meeting. Those elected are: 

Jo Hawkins – Di Boston – Robyn Connett  – Philippa Hogan – Ruth Stringer –  Mike Reddaway – Paul Layton – Annette Plaut  – David Treharne.... plus Frazer Osment (co-opted)

RA Reps
Aylwyn Bowen Thornton West
Lynn Hartmann Bury Meadow
Meg Hichcock Prospect PArk
Powderham Cres - vacancy
Mark Clemoes Oxford Road
Mark or Claire Phillips - Devonshire Place

Thanks to all Steering Group members who baked scones – you will be pleased to hear that about £50 was raised for Queen's Crescent Garden funds from the sale of cream teas.


A meeting has been held with Network Rail which brings a strong possibility of regularising the allotments on the station embankment, the only ones in St James, Thanks to Emily Stallworthy of Devon Wildlife Trust and Cllr Keith Owen for attending with St James' and allotment representatives. We will be in touch with allotmenteers very soon.

RHS Its Your Neighbourhood

If you notice a degree of sprucing up in early July it may be because a number of St James' green spaces have been entered in this community gardening initiative – some for the first time. Bury Meadow Park, Powderham Crescent, Queen’s Crescent Garden, Devonshire Place orchard, St James Park station and St James' allotments are all in the scheme which values community engagement in gardening. At the time of writing we expect the judge on 14th July.


Queen’s Crescent Garden

Thanks to the volunteers with strimmers who worked for a week to get the grass cut – we have agreed to take this on despite not having ownership as yet because it helps indicate what might be and perhaps will encourage people to think about how the Garden could be used in future. Thanks too to the kind people who have given us a mower to be used in future.

Press and PR

There was a balanced article in the Express and Echo about the Cricket Club this week and on Tuesday morning Di Boston was interviewed (unexpectedly as she was volunteering at the St James Lunch Club) on the issue of student accommodation. We have a very new volunteer at the Forum with experience in this work and we are hoping to be able to get more news about what we are doing into the wider public arena.

Contact us with queries, questions etc on
or in writing c/o St Sidwell’s Community Centre


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