Exeter City’s Post-Covid Recovery Plan


Exeter City has proposed a number of post-COVID pandemic recovery measures. The measures are geared towards rejuvenating the economy and restoring normalcy in the vibrant city centre after the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The main focus of the authority in Exeter is to open the city centre for business. Therefore, they have concentrated on the transport sector within the city.

On Wednesday, a roundtable meeting was held in Exeter to discuss some of the proposed recovery measures. The meeting was hosted by City Futures, and it brought together various participants who represented the business community, individuals, and local authorities.

The agenda of the meeting was to discuss and come up with recovery measures that will guarantee a “green restart.” The organizers insisted that a “green restart” is the only viable solution that will guarantee a safe recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The participants proposed that the city center should be pedestrianized and the road space reallocated. They also proposed the introduction of congestion charges to discourage traffic congestion in the city center.

During the lockdown period, carbon emissions in Devon county reduced by 20 percent. Additionally, traffic flows in the county reduced significantly.

The CEO of Devon County Council, Dr. Phil Norrey said that the lockdown has shown how Exeter and the entire Devon can sound, feel, and look with minimal emissions.

One hundred participants attended the roundtable meeting. They all agreed that there is a need for the council to take bold actions towards achieving the “green restart” recovery plan.

The participants proposed a number of recovery measures, including the closure of arterial routes leading into the city, regressive measures such as parking levies at workplaces, and the introduction of “quick wins” like cutting vegetation to discourage the use of bikes.

Reallocation of road spaces was also proposed, as it would give cyclists and pedestrians a greater priority.



  1. Dear Sir,

    Car Free Exeter City Centre

    I note your two page article, and editorial, in the Express and Echo last week on the above subject including reports of a meeting of a ‘100 invited people’ to discuss this matter – I have no idea who the ‘invited’ people were and am concerned that they were highly selected to support the ‘car free city centre’ concept.

    I was pleased to read that Cllr Phil Bialyk , as Council leader, has rightly stated that this is only a start of discussions and a lot more research and debate is necessary.

    He is so right….. The simple facts are that the retail centre of Exeter was beginning to struggle with leading companies going and, as a result of the CORVID-19 pandemic, is going to be struggling considerably, even if nothing is done. To strip the centre of Exeter of cars and make it more difficult for people to get into the City Centre will simply strip the City Centre of footfall and drive most of the remaining retail outlets out of business.

    Does the County Council and the City Council want to prioritise turning the City Green and chasing some ego projects about the ‘Healthiest’ or ‘Greenest’ city in the West Country, rather than provide work, facilities and service for the local people? Clearly it would be very simple to reduce pollution if you had no shoppers coming into the city centre because there were no worthwhile shops there!!

    Can all those “100 selected people” and the Councils involved realise that people will simply NOT, in the volumes required, get on bicycles, walk, or park outside the city centre and come into the city via ‘Park and Ride’ – they will, in the bulk involved, simply go elsewhere or buy on line (they now have extensive experience of this following the lockdown).

    If the decision is to clear all traffic out of the town and hope to turn the city centre into nothing but a few bars and cafes and a lot of tourist orientated curio, craft, etc shops then so be it but be honest with people and even then the councils involved need to do a considerable amount of careful research. Otherwise, as I and many others, fear we will simply move into an extended period of decline in Exeter City centre and the slow turning of it into a ghost town, as has already happened in all too many town and cities in Britain and further afield.

    What is really needed now is a major drive, as we come out of this pandemic, to attract people back into the City Centre – other towns and cities are planning free parking schemes, open air markets, street entertainment, etc, etc, to help re-stimulate the retail health of the city centre NOT the opposite!! Please…

    Yours sincerely


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