With magnificent views across the estuary and out to sea, fields at the top of Pinhoe have always been a valuable vantage point.
In 1001, a priest from Monkerton famously came to the rescue of local defences against the Saxons, bringing fresh withies for their arrows on the back of his donkey. He saved the day and became immortalised on local school badges.
When the Spanish armada was threatening our coastline, Beacon Field was part of the vital network of Armada beacons alerting local sea defences.
Now we have a very 21st century battle to save these historic fields. Reaching across from Cheynegate to Park Lane, these green lungs of Pinhoe are facing further development which runs riot with our sense of history, restricts local access to open spaces, decimates our green lanes and will dominate the skyline itself.
There is new science and new evidence to show how important these spaces are to all our wellbeing. A hyper-local approach to neighbourhoods is finally being recognised as a vital direction for future planning, where local distinctiveness and character are valuable assets which benefit from community engagement and ownership.
Beautiful Higher Field at the top of the village is not only a hub for local wildlife and biodiversity, it is an important connection point as a wildlife corridor. The Pinhoe Ridgeline connects us to the woodland skyline which is one of Exeter’s most beautiful features. Please sign our petition for NEW THINKING and formal protection. The petition is open to ANYONE IN EXETER who cares about trees, wildlife, Exeter’s skyline and our sense of connection to the natural environment.
SEPT 7TH : HILL BARTON DEVELOPMENT Statement made on behalf of the Hill Barton Residents Association, by Tal Donahue:
“Our concerns regarding this application for 47 homes (19/0699) stem from the context within which it sits. We are not opposed to the principle of more houses but approving this application on its own terms, without significant and binding assurances secured, would risk serious impairment to the creation of a sustainable community in the area, the wellbeing of current and future residents and, furthermore, public health and safety. The guiding principles of the Monkerton Master Plan must continue to hold sway, particularly in relation to public green space. To take one example, the location of the current application is almost precisely where the Master Plan earmarks land for the ‘Hill Barton Park’: “urban park providing kick-about and informal space for local residents to the south of the ridge and the business community at the Met Office and Business Park”. As a community we desire assurances that such a park will indeed be delivered, within a suitable timescale and that we are consulted in the process of doing so. This park, furthermore, should conform to the goals laid out in the Monkerton Master Plan and in the approved 2013 site master plan for Hill Barton which establishes a green corridor running across the eastern side of the Hill Barton development area adjacent to and surrounding the Met Office. This is to provide a safe open space for fresh air and exercise as well as encouraging sustainable travel across the site to Pinhoe in the north and the economic centre of Sowton to the south west. Our concern is whether the applicant is providing requisite space between the residential portion of the development and the cycle path bounding the Met Office land to facilitate the delivery of a truly health and ecologically vibrant green route. The track record of the developer with regard to Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Hill Barton site suggests that environmental responsibility and human wellbeing is low down the list of priorities. We ask that the committee request details from the applicant regarding issues including neglecting to provide bat boxes (despite a regulatory requirement to do so) and arboreal mismanagement including using concrete in the planting of street-side trees resulting in tree loss. Exeter has lofty ambitions to move towards carbon neutrality, greater human wellbeing and environmentally responsible economic activity including development. Planning applications must be reviewed in this context otherwise public trust in the council will deteriorate. The Monkerton Master Plan has wider significance, notably regarding public transport and local facilities. There have been countless public comments on this application regarding the critically unsafe nature of the access road to the development area (Heritage Road). This has become a single lane road due to street parking and, with this and further building works due to commence on the site, it is now a severe hazard. We request the committee review trip calculations conducted for this road, particularly with the addition of more homes through the current application and, indeed, through the additional application 19/1375 for 200 homes as the remainder of ‘Phase 3’. These applications are conjoined and, while handled under separate planning applications, together form the next phase of the Hill Barton Consortium’s development plan approved in 2013. Highways England responded to the applications together saying – “Due to the nature of the two applications, Highways England will consider their impacts to be linked” and required a Travel Plan to be produced. (We find it concerning that the webpage hosting the developers materials for planning application 19/1375 appears to be inaccessible). This development area is, already, fundamentally reliant on car-based transportation. The current cycle path and its planned extension into Phase 3 is welcome and we believe more can be done with signage and wayfinding to help encourage people to use it. The Monkerton rail halt has been the subject of much discussion and forms part of the wider considerations for the Devon Metro initiative. With the planned creation of 50 new homes in this development added to the approximately 200 across the rest of Phase 3 and the 300 or so already delivered, roads around Hill Barton are already at breaking point and highly unsafe. There is an urgent need to put in place requisite public transport infrastructure. From the developer’s 2013 master plan: “A new railway station will create a hub of activity and provide excellent access to and from the Met Office, employment and surrounding communities. A local shop and other potential local outlet ground floor uses adjacent to the railway station will reinforce and support this as a focus of activity and movement and provide facilities for commuters.” An associated Change.org petition to progress the plan has received over 1000 signatories. As an association we have received countless representations from residents and have experience ourselves, of Persimmon using the planned rail halt as a conversation topic when selling to home buyers. If this station is not to be forthcoming then the developers for the Hill Barton site cannot legitimately refer to it in either their planning materials or sales conversations, both of which have a significant impact on the decision making of residents. The same could be said for the local centre promised as part of the approved 2013 Hill Barton master plan. While not directly connected with today’s application the wider implications of Phase 3 will result in significantly higher traffic in the area. Without adequate provision of local facilities residents will have little other choice than to drive to other retail and leisure centres – further impacting the road network. The land allocated for a local centre directly east of Hill Barton Road and north of the Exmouth railway line remains empty and ripe for development. In conclusion, this application must be seen in its context. There is a huge opportunity for Exeter City Council to demonstrate its commitment to new homes and, more importantly, to social capital and community creation. A community that is healthy, safe and happy, with adequate facilities and infrastructure to create a flourishing local area will, in the long run, have a net positive impact on the value, in all senses of the word, of Hill Barton”
Huge thanks to Guides and Rainbows from Pinhoe, Broadclyst, Stoke Canon and St Lawrence for their beautiful, bright, cheery cards! Pinhoe Community Support sends cards out on all sorts of occasions – there’s nothing quite like a handmade card and the thought, creativity and care shines through #LovePinhoe
In August 2019, local families approached Pinhoe Forum to find out what was happening with the bike bump area in Station Road Playing Fields. It was overgrown and unsafe, but still used by families who were keen to renovate it.
Exeter City Council were concerned to ensure safety and the bike bumps were fenced off and levelled as part of the pitch renovations. The park is having drainage installed to remedy the boggy area – it’s a substantial investment using money from local housing development.
The Forum found out that £45k has been allocated to develop a bike track and Exeter City Council Parks Dept mentioned that we have an award-winning track designer who not only lives in Pinhoe, but Tim Ruck designed one of their most successful facilities in the city: an opportunity not to be missed! The £45k will become available from S106 money which will be released when houses on the Taylor Wimpey development are ready for occupation.
In September, Tim took a look at the site. Fencing for the football pitch drainage usefully showed the size / space available at the end of the field. Because it would be overlooked and have several safe exits, it looks to have real potential. We discussed options to pursue further grant funding to enable an integrated, holistic approach to the site, which would secure access and amenity for the whole community as well as ensuring any bike facility was ambitious, accessible for a range of ages and abilities, and had a sustainable future.
Wider community consultation is the next step and we want to hear from young people who would use this facility, to ensure we bring a vision for the whole community – dog walkers use this part of the field too and could play their part in the safety of the site!
Meanwhile, Tim has suggested a range of designs with rough ideas for budgets so we can gauge the opportunity to apply for funding. We are looking forward to the feedback.
To join the Forum group please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The brilliant Jess Liebig has been busy organising a wildflower garden, with Lee from Libraries Unlimited, our community builder Ebbie and a fantastic bunch of volunteers from Wild Pinhoe. There’s space for scouts and guides to do some planting now the borders have been dug out and you’ll never spot the hedgehog box from Robin Hoad because it’s been so well camouflaged! Look out for plants being grown on by The Little House which are destined to flourish here #LovePinhoe
Whether it’s the Little House at the top of Station Road, or regular Wednesday delivery of afternoon teas, Pinhoe Community Support continues to showcase the brilliant work of our caring community. If you know someone who needs a bit of help, please contact the COMMUNITY HELPLINE: 07387 614896