Exeter park saved from development

An under-threat slice of a much-loved Exeter green space has been saved from a developer’s bulldozers.

Exeter Homes Trust had looked set to buy Bull Meadow Park to create access for vehicles as part of its £9million plans to redevelop Fairpark Almshouses.

But the area’s city council owners have performed a U-turn over the request – and now say the 130sq m space is not for sale.

Hundreds of local residents had objected to the proposal.

Exeter Homes Trust’s proposed development is at the bottom of Magdalen Road and overlooks Bull Meadow Park.

Exeter City Council leader Phil Bialyk said he wanted to keep the current open green space after carefully considering representations from residents and representatives.

He added: “Good space like this is at a premium, and to inch away at it is not the best policy.

“Of course, we want to provide houses for people, and we will have those discussions. But I’m not minded to sell this – I want to keep it as open space.

“A lot of local people have made representations and the local councillors here in Newtown and St Leonards have worked very hard on their behalf to get that message across.

“We have said that this new Labour administration will be listening to people, and we will make changes where we can make changes. I don’t want to make a mistake just because it is what we said we would do.

“I want to listen to people in Exeter and work with people in Exeter. That’s the best way forward. I want Exeter to thrive, I want it as the place to be. I just can’t stand by and watch this space go, because, once it has gone, it has gone forever.

“We’ve listened and we intend to listen. But listening is a two-way street. There will be times when I will be asking residents in Exeter to listen to what we are proposing, for the good of Exeter.”

Bull Meadow Park features a range of mature trees, a separate play area for young children and green open space.

The announcement on Bull Meadow Park follows the decision last month to maintain the open green space at Northbrook Approach golf course, off Topsham Road.

Cllr Bialyk said there were no plans to sell or build on the golf course, which features around 200 mature trees.

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