Tributes flow for man who helped reshape city

Picture by Theo Moye/ 18.06.09 Cllr Pete Edwards promotes Exeter City's Unitary Autho

Pete Edwards at a 'Welcome to Exeter' sign. - Credit: Theo Moye/

Tributes have flowed for one of Devon's most respected former councillors and council leaders

Pete Edwards, the man who played a key role in re-shaping a modern Exeter, has died in hospital following a short illness.

He served Exeter as a councillor for 30 years, from 1984 to 1988 in the then Barton ward and then from 1995 to 2019 in the Mincinglake and Whipton ward.

He was Leader of the Council from 2011 until his retirement in 2019. During his time as Leader, the city has underwent many changes. He oversaw the much-needed refurbishment of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in 2011 and was at the helm when plans to redevelop the old bus station were revealed.

As a former bus driver, he was able to witness the new Bus Station opening earlier this year, but sadly unable to live to see the completion of the new St Sidwell’s Point Leisure Centre.

He was responsible for many of the city’s successes including bring the 2015 Rugby World Cup to Exeter and the Radio 1 Big Weekend to the city in 2017.

He helped thousands of new homes in the city, many of which fit into the affordable category.

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He introduced the Living Wage at Exeter City Council and was key in bringing big names such as John Lewis and IKEA to the city.

Current Council Leader Phil Bialyk, worked closely with Mr Edwards whilst on the buses for Devon General and together as part of the Council’s political leadership. He said: "I knew Pete for nearly 50 years and it is a privilege to call him my friend. You can see the impact that he had in the city and he leaves such a strong legacy. Pete was humble. Not even his family really saw the breadth of what he was delivering for the city."

Karime Hassan, Chief Executive and Growth Director of Exeter City Council said: “Pete was known for his sound judgement. His insight was extraordinary and he also wouldn’t shy away from a fight if he knew it was the right thing to do.”

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