When this estate was constructed in the 1970s, this land was required to be laid out as public open space. At the time, the developer would have been offered the opportunity of transferring it to the Council, together with a sum to cover the ongoing maintenance. Instead, the developer chose to pass the site to the Public Open Spaces Charitable Trust. This site is one of a huge number of areas of public open space in Exeter that are privately owned and maintained. If the Council takes on this site because of community concern, it is likely that other private owners will follow suit and we would find ourselves with many more sites and liabilities but no budget. The Council’s costs and risks would be likely to increase significantly as a result of doing this and that would be unacceptable.
Cllr Rob Hannaford, Lead Councillor for Place, said: “I do understand the residents’ concerns. There is a danger that the land will be seen as a potential investment by a speculative purchaser, but the Council considers the land has no development value and it is in fact likely to be a liability to any purchaser, who will need to manage trees and keep the site tidy.
“The Council no longer takes on public open space required through development, such as this site, and we are not prepared to take on the liability of this site. However, the future landscape value and amenity of this land is very important to the local residents and we have been keen to find a solution. We have therefore offered a grant of £5,000 to the community to purchase this land and we are happy to support them in the process.”
Member since: 5th January 2016
Hi, I am Steve Upsher, Media Relations Officer at Exeter City Council