Council hopes to achieve £10 million funding for the Axminster North/South Relief Road

East Devon District Council is seeking £10 million in funding from the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) Housing Infrastructure Fund to help meet the costs of building the Axminster relief road. The HCA is a public body, which through the Housing Infrastructure Fund is offering government grants nationally to local authorities for new infrastructure that will unlock new homes in areas of high demand. The council is bidding for the maximum amount it can under the programme, which is worth up to £2.3 billion nationally.

This key piece of infrastructure for Axminster is identified in the adopted East Devon Local Plan and forms part of an allocation of 650 homes and eight hectares of land for commercial and community uses to the east of the town.

Even if successful, the bid will only part fund the road, which has an estimated cost of £16.7 million. The remaining cost will be met through the development of the adjacent land for housing and employment.

In addition to unlocking the allocated development site in the local plan, the relief road would also address existing problems, such as congestion, air pollution and vehicle damage caused by large commercial vehicles as they navigate the narrow historic streets of the town. The relief road would direct through traffic away from the town centre, creating a more attractive and pedestrian/cyclist friendly environment.

One of the criteria for assessing the bids is the level of local support and the council would like to thank Axminster Town Council, Councillor Andrew Moulding, Councillor Ian Hall, Neil Parish MP, Axminster Tools and the main parties with an interest in the land - Crown Estates and Persimmon Homes - for all writing in to support the bid. The council is also grateful to other members of the community for their support.

Cllr Phil Twiss, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for strategic development and partnerships, said: “I really hope that the HCA will support this bid and see what an exciting opportunity this is for Axminster to address the traffic problems through the town and unlock the land to the north and east of the town for development and enable the future growth of the community. It is vital that the council secures the additional funding, as the proposed development of land adjacent to the road will not provide sufficient funding for the delivery of the whole road. We look forward with keen anticipation to hearing from the HCA regarding the outcome of the bid in the New Year.”