SDNP | New Community Warden service for St David’s

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03 November 2016

New Community Warden service for St David’s

A pilot Community Warden service started in St David’s Neighbourhood on Tuesday 1 November.   The service is being introduced to an area with a high density and very diverse population which is also the location for five separate hostels for vulnerable people.

The introduction of a Community Warden follows discussions over a number of years with councillors, supported housing agencies, local residents and police in relation to the impact of anti-social behaviour across the Neighbourhood.

St David’s Neighbourhood Partnership has been awarded grants from their Devon County Councillor, Jill Owen, the Exeter Board, and The People’s Health Trust. A steering group has been set up representing many of the local partners to work with the warden service provider, to identify key problem hot-spots, gather data on antisocial behaviour levels, be a point of contact for local residents, and provide a visible and reassuring presence across the area.

The Community Warden service will be supporting the local police, Exeter city council teams and voluntary agencies and will be able to report crime and anti-social behaviour directly to them.   He will interact with established security services provided by Exeter College security, the University of Exeter Estate Patrol, and the Exeter Businesses Against Crime group (EBAC).

Asked why this service is needed, a local resident and Steering Group Member said that over recent years residents had become increasingly alarmed at the blatant drug-dealing in the area, as well as antisocial behaviour – including criminal damage.

Christine Fraser, Chair of St David’s Neighbourhood Partnership, explained that the introduction of the community warden service was a direct response to the Vision 2020 consultation process by the community to identify key issues and priority actions over the next 5 years to achieve the Association’s objective of making this inner-city area a place where people want to live and work, now and in the future.

Initially for a 9 month period, there will be a full evaluation report and recommendations to the police, Community Safety Partnership, Exeter City Council and St David’s community.

Christine Fraser added, ‘This is not a unique solution for inner-city communities and we know of several similar schemes in other towns and cities. However, it is a first for Exeter and we are all committed to ensuring that we achieve the very best outcome possible for everyone living and working in the area as well as supporting the work of our statutory agencies through a sensitive and collaborative approach.’

The warden service providers are confident in delivering this service, not least because their offices are based in the Neighbourhood and they have first-hand knowledge of many of the issues. There is a recognition that crime and disorder is not always being reported. Residents worried about contacting the police can now report incidents to the community warden who will make it part of his shift report. It should be noted that the warden service providers are not the police and people should continue to report crime and antisocial behaviour to the police in the usual way.

Devon County Councillor Jill Owen said, ‘There has been a huge reduction in police numbers in our city against increased demands for police services and even the much admired PCSOs are thinner on the ground. We would not have agreed to fund it if we were not aware of the problems St David’s is experiencing due to its proximity to the city centre. This is very much a pilot scheme so we will watch its progress carefully.’

Supt Sam De Reya, Police Commander for Exeter said ‘D&C Police are committed to protecting the vulnerable and reducing crime. We fully support this pilot and encourage community involvement to increase reporting, demonstrate visibility and engagement with our communities. The local Sgt and Police Community Management Officer are members of the steering committee and fully engaged with the progress of this pilot’

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Note to Editor

St David’s Neighbourhood Vision 2020 document, ‘Building our Balanced Community’, can be found at: http://www.stdavidsneighbourhood.org.uk

For further information contact Christine Fraser on 07773038689; or
Karen Gold, Police Community Management Officer (PCMO) Exeter 01392 451613

 

 

Exeter’s Silver Gilt Award at the National RHS Britain in Bloom Finals

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PRESS RELEASE
18.10.2016

Exeter’s Silver Gilt Award at the National RHS Britain in Bloom Finals

At the star-studded RHS Britain in Bloom National Awards gala event held at Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Friday night [14 October 2016], Exeter was awarded a Silver Gilt Medal for the work done across the city and university during the year.

This was the first time for 25 years that Exeter has been in the National Finals – and this year Exeter represented the whole of the South West in the ‘Small City’ category (a category which included Harrogate, Canterbury, Derry, Loughborough, Colchester and Rugby).

Each of the 3 core elements of Exeter’s Award are scored separately: Silver for Horticultural Achievement ; Silver for Environmental Responsibility; and GOLD for Community Participation.

The two National judges were impressed by the strong horticultural links based on the famous Veitch family of Exeter and said that the university grounds were ‘just spectacular’, so much so that they intend to visit again just to enjoy a private tour of the trees and shrubs

There was particular praise for the hanging baskets in the High Street and Gandy Street, funded by The Exeter Business Improvement District (BID) and for the BID’s team support for cleansing services in the city centre. And Princesshay’s Roof Garden and Bee Hives were singled out for special praise.

Andy Littlejohns, Operations Manager of Princesshay, said, “This Award is a fantastic achievement and we were very pleased to have been involved in the whole process.”

Exeter’s Britain in Bloom team is a strong partnership between the city council staff, volunteers and the University who hosted community groups, welcomed the National Judges and showed off their superb campus:

University of Exeter Director of Grounds, Iain Park, said: “We are very proud to have contributed to Exeter’s Britain in Bloom success. To receive this kind of recognition is wonderful news and reflects the hard work that our dedicated staff put in to maintaining the University grounds to the highest standard. The city has so many wonderful areas for both the local community and visitors to the city to enjoy.

“Both the Streatham and St Luke’s campuses have also been bestowed with Green Flag awards this year, which signifies to the city and its visitors that the University’s grounds are kept to the upmost quality and are wonderfully maintained for everyone to enjoy.”

Exeter in Bloom’s community contribution was supported by a grant of £2,000 from The Exeter Board Fund to engage with the 26 individual It’s Your Neighbourhood grass-roots community entries who among them achieved ten ‘Outstanding’ awards. The judges said, “The presence and support of Exeter’s numerous community groups was tremendous.”

Paul Bull, Exeter City Council’s Lead Councillor for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said: “It’s gratifying to note that the Exeter in Bloom entry was classified GOLD for community engagement.

“Time and time again, I see the work of local residents transforming their neighbourhoods and making a difference in their communities. Many local projects have been taking place around the year by local volunteers, and I’ve managed to join some of these in recent months. The award of the Silver Gilt for Exeter is recognition of all this tremendous effort.”

Christine Fraser and Paul Collier, leading Exeter in Bloom, were presented with a special flag to be flown in the City and a special banner is in the post.

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Paul Bull, Christine Fraser, Diana Moore and Stella Cahill with the Silver Gilt flag

Retiring from managing Exeter in Bloom, Christine Fraser said, “It has been a pleasure and a real privilege to be linked to over 300 volunteers across the city contributing so much to improving areas where we all live and work. We wish Stella Cahill, who will be taking over this role, every success in the future”.

Christine Fraser remains on the RHS South West in Bloom Committee and will continue to enjoy her regional judging role during her retirement.

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For further information:
Christine Fraser – fraser@bystock.eclipse.co.uk and 07773038689
Iain Park – I.D.Park@exeter.ac.uk
Cllr Paul Bull – cllr.paul.bull@exeter.gov.uk – 01392 275886

http://exeterinbloom.org.uk

 

Studentification in St James’

From:  Steering Group report to Annual General Meeting 2016 of  the Exeter St James Forum (ESJF) 

Studentification 

Following a request from Bury Meadow Residents’ Association (BMRA), ESJF supported a petition drafted by Chester Community Voice against the ‘studentification’ of Chester, asking for legislation at national level to ensure local authorities sustainably manage the interests of all parties, not least communities of permanent residents, when considering where student accommodation is developed. The Petition also gained the support of St James Residents’ Associations (SJRAs) and St David’s Neighbourhood Partnership (SDNP). A copy was sent to Ben Bradshaw MP who was present to support Chester’s MP Chris Matheson when he presented it to the House of Commons.

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Hansard 27 January 2016 v605 c383

The ‘observations‘ of the Minister, Brandon Lewis, in response were disappointing.

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Hansard 22 February 2016 v606 c2P

Meanwhile, Ben Bradshaw invited Christine Fraser of SDNP and Robyn Connett who represented ESJF (having consulted with SJRA reps) to meet with him and Cllr. Keith Owen to discuss the issue of ‘studentification’ in Exeter and elsewhere, and to stress the need for involvement at a national level. As a result Ben Bradshaw agreed to write to Secretary of State Greg Clark raising points agreed during the meeting including the weight to be given to neighbourhood plans, and in addition to write to MPs of all university cities/towns, with a view to forming an All-Party Working Group to focus on ‘studentification’. The response to Ben Bradshaw’s letter to the Secretary of State, written by the Minister, Brandon Lewis, was not particularly helpful. Ben Bradshaw has since reported that he has had some encouraging conversations with fellow labour MPs and that after the EU referendum he would pursue his initiative of