Shortfall funding to be repaid by developers from sale of new homes built as part of Axminster’s eastern expansion
East Devon District Council’s Cabinet unanimously agreed on Wed 31 October 2018 to borrow the shortfall in funding of approximately £6.7million for the delivery of the Axminster relief road, which is a key part of the eastern expansion of the town. The money will be added to the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) funding of £10 million already secured by East Devon earlier this year.
The council intends to jointly commission the road with Devon County Council and deliver it in a single phase ahead of development to the east of the town. The £6.7million borrowed by the council would ultimately be repaid by developers from the sale of houses on the site.
Cabinet members unanimously supported the recommendation, agreeing that this was the best way forward for the relief road and the town. There was some discussion around residents’ concerns about problems with Weycroft Bridge to the north of the town and the junction with the A35 to the south of the town. County and District Councillor Ian Hall told the cabinet that these junctions are being looked at with the relevant agencies to see what could be done, but that this should not hold up progress on the relief road.
The council has been working closely with the site’s main developers and landowners to develop a masterplan, which will provide a template for how the development to the east of the town will come forward. The development will include a mixture of housing, employment and community spaces.
A consultation event on the masterplan was held in July 2018 with hundreds of Axminster residents attending to make their views known. Since that time the council has been working hard on the masterplan and investigating how the road can be delivered.
Cabinet’s decision this week sets out 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 as the site is built out - something that is likely to take many years. The principles for the delivery of the road will be worked up into a detailed proposal and reported back to council members for them to consider at a future meeting. These key details will also inform the development of the masterplan for the site with a further consultation on draft proposals for the masterplan being planned for late November 2018.
I am delighted that cabinet agreed to take such a proactive and positive role and invest in the delivery of the Axminster Relief Road. The road is vital to the future of the town and the fact that the council is willing to borrow nearly £7 million is a massive vote of confidence in Axminster and its community.
To read the report in full, please visit the East Devon website - where you can find it in the Cabinet agenda for 31 October 2018.