Developing new methods of consulting our community
In response to local concerns raised in Pinhoe Village meetings, the Pinhoe Forum formed to investigate the neighbourhood planning process. A small steering group was elected in late 2019, including representatives from community groups, charities and local councillors.
Problems emerged from the beginning, not least because the main focus of neighbourhood planning is to identify sites for development and Pinhoe was already in the midst of substantial and sustained development. Exeter City Council suggested working on a ‘project basis’ would be more effective and advised that developing local ‘design codes’ would likely be the best outcome for Pinhoe.
Notwithstanding this, the Forum’s Sustainable Travel Group held a public Traffic Meeting in February 2020, to highlight the community’s increasing safety concerns. Well supported by over 70 local residents and attended by local County Councillor Hilary Ackland, the meeting also shared information from Co-Cars and the Exeter Cycling Campaign.
Despite disruption during lockdowns, Pinhoe Forum instigated a Community Speedwatch Team in August 2020 and local volunteers continue to monitor traffic levels across Pinhoe. In 2021, the Forum secured funding from Vision Zero for a mobile Speed Activation unit following community consultation.
Pinhoe Forum also led a petition to protect Green Infrastructure in Pinhoe, which was signed by over 2000 people across Exeter. Focused on the protection of Higher Field as a vital part of the Northern Ridgeline, the petition was presented to a meeting of Exeter City Council in 2021, where it was unanimously referred to the Scrutiny Committee.
Since the pandemic, Pinhoe Forum has maintained momentum as a ‘forum for ideas’ and continues to campaign for a revised traffic strategy for Pinhoe and infrastructure investment. Dedicated to sharing information about local decision-making within national policy frameworks, making local information truly accessible – not just findable but understandable – in response to the difficulties people have encountered with the planning system.
Further information is available at www.pinhoe.org