Funding plan to fast-track start on Axminster relief road

A north-south bypass will reduce Axminster’s town centre congestion problems say campaigners. Pictur

A north-south bypass will reduce Axminster’s town centre congestion problems say campaigners. Picture: ALEX WALTON - Credit: Archant

Council will consider borrowing £6.7million so the road can be built soon

Council chiefs are to consider borrowing almost £7million to fast-track provision of Axminster’s long awaited north-south relief road.

A funding plan to enable the £17million bypass to be built ahead of a massive housing development to the east of the town will go before East Devon District Council’s Cabinet tomorrow (Wednesday, October 31).

The road is a key part of the eastern expansion of the town and a report recommends that the district and the county councils jointly commission the road and deliver it in a single phase.

They would use £10million of Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) money secured by the council earlier this year, and borrow £6.7m to cover the shortfall.

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The loan would ultimately be repaid by developers from the sale of some 650 houses planned for the site.

Since the beginning of 2018, the council has been working closely with the main developers and landowners to develop a masterplan, which will provide a template for how development to the east of the town will take place. It will include a mixture of housing, employment and community spaces.

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The report to cabinet outlines the principles for delivering the road, ensuring that it is in place in its entirety early in the development of the site, thereby minimising the impact and disruption within the town while the site is developed - which is likely to take many years.

The report considers options, such as the developers themselves delivering the road alongside the housing, but this could take around ten to 15 years.

It concludes that the council, in partnership with DCC, should take the lead, but expect the developers to repay the shortfall in funding through a legal agreement.

Cllr Andrew Moulding, EDDC ward member for Axminster Town, said: “Following recent debates in the town about the favoured route for the relief road it is great to have the town council’s confirmed support for the eastern route and this report is a step forward in delivering it.

“The eastern expansion of the town will take many years to build out and all the time the traffic will be increasing. To my mind it is vital that the relief road is delivered as early as possible to relieve the congestion and air pollution through the town centre.”

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