5 December 2014
The Green party in Exeter have broadly welcomed the redevelopment of the bus station site, particularly the emphasis on leisure uses including a swimming pool, but have repeated their call for a new market square.
They have also welcomed plans to develop the site to BREEAM environmental standards and the swimming pool to passivhaus standards. The Party say that such standards are crucial not only to tackle climate change but also to create buildings which are more affordable to run.
However, Greens question whether the current plans are economically viable and are calling for a new ‘Best of Devon’ market square to celebrate the distinctiveness and diversity of Exeter. They say that incorporating such a square into the redevelopment would provide an opportunity to showcase the best that Devon has to offer in local foods, artisan crafts as well as highlight the city’s multiculturalism and diversity. Greens say that given the phenomenal successes of the South West Food Festival and Respect Festival, there is popular demand for an area in the city centre with such a focus.
Diana Moore, the Green Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate said:
“We have had lots of positive support across the city for our proposals for a proper modern market. This would be good for the local economy; bridging the gap between occasional traders and permanent units. Local start-ups, micro-businesses and social enterprises could develop and trial high quality artisan craft and food and the space could also be a proper home for the popular and high quality weekly Farmers’ market.”
The Green Party is concerned that the current plans, with a strong focus on more restaurants is misguided and threatens some of the established small local business, enterprises and charity shops. Ms Moore went on to say:
“The developers’ strategy is based on focusing on attracting new high-end and more exclusive restaurants and food businesses to the City. We are concerned that existing local business will move out of the area and not be able to afford to move back and that the new offering will be unaffordable to many local people.”
Greens welcome plans to make the city centre car-free but question whether the bus station site is large enough to accommodate growth in future bus services. Greens also call for easy connections between local, regional and national bus services and for a clear plan on safe cycle routes to the site from the North and East. Isaac Price Sosner, Green candidate in St James ward, said:
“I am really concerned that the planned traffic flows through St James will add to the city’s grid-lock situation and make the air quality even worse. We need to create a safe and healthy environment that is conducive for walking and cycling and ensure that public transport provision is easy to access and affordable.”
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