Growth point rises up from the ground

The Midweek Herald takes a tour of the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point.

The Exeter and East Devon Growth Point is rising up from the ground and promises to bring more jobs and housing opportunities to the area.

The Midweek Herald joined the Growth Point team and its partners, as well as East Devon District Council leader Paul Diviani, deputy leader Councillor Andrew Moulding and Councillor Graham Godbeer, for a special tour.

The growth point is the culmination of a number of projects, bringing together Cranbrook, the expansion of Exeter International Airport, Skypark business park, Exeter Science Park, the Energy Park and the Flybe Training Academy, amongst other projects.

Andy Wood, Exeter and East Devon Growth Point project director, said: “We are really satisfied as things are coming forward at such an early stage.

“It will bring �30.5billion private investment into the area, a huge amount of jobs and housing, which will have a massive impact on the local area.”

The Science Park aims to create 3,000 jobs and will be home to science-based businesses.

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Science Park co-ordinator Michelle Hale said the project aspires to bring “high quality” jobs to the area.

A number of infrastructure improvements are in the process of being carried out to support the developments, including the new community at Cranbrook, such as the Clyst Honiton by-pass.

So far, work has been completed on the Redhayes bridge over the M5, the Flybe Training Academy and road junction improvements.

St Martin’s Primary School in Cranbrook is also starting to take shape, ready to open to pupils in September, and a new multi-purpose building, which will include a doctor’s surgery and council offices, is currently under construction.

Of the housing in Cranbrook, 30 per cent will be affordable, under the management of two housing associations, with another 10 per cent being low cost homes.

Councillor Diviani, said: “We have seen it come from green field, to brown field, to actual buildings.

“It is an ongoing process, but it is absolutely fascinating to see it taking shape.”

He hopes the increased job and housing opportunities will encourage younger generations to stay in the area - to live and work.

Mr Diviani added: “This will stop us haemorrhaging the young people of East Devon, which has been one of the problems in the past.

“It will be a very proud moment when it all comes to fruition.

“It will take quite a few years to meet its full potential.”