During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Devon County Council introduced a number of temporary changes to streets across Exeter to support social distancing, and to encourage people to walk and cycle. Following this, it was decided to further engage with communities in Exeter, to understand their views on the temporary measures, and help them shape future improvements to their local streets.

The Heavitree and Whipton Phase 1 Consultation invited respondents to identify which aspects of their local streets they perceived most positively and which were perceived most negatively. Responses indicated that public transport infrastructure was generally perceived positively, but that the impacts of traffic and the lack of priority for pedestrians and cyclists were primary concerns. Issues were highlighted particularly frequently on Ladysmith Road, Hamlin Lane, Sweetbrier Lane and Thornpark Rise.

The subsequent Heavitree and Whipton Phase 2 Consultation invited feedback on a range of measures to address these issues, including point closures of roads to vehicular traffic, traffic humps and pedestrian crossing facilities. The proposals for traffic humps and pedestrian crossings were broadly supported, whilst of the packages of point closures, Option 4, which involved closing all routes to through traffic, was most popular. However, several location-specific concerns were raised regarding the proposals.