Disappointment over a failed £11million funding bid for the Axe Valley Levelling Up project will not deter East Devon District Council (EDDC).
The authority has vowed to continue works looking to progress a number of the smaller Axe Valley projects, included as part of the wider plan, that aim to build developments which bring hundreds of new jobs to Seaton and Axminster.
EDDC submitted a bid for a portion of the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, to support a £15million programme of projects within the Axe Valley. Out of the 500 bids submitted across the country, only 111 were successful.
The authority has announced it will now be looking into the viability of the three new employment sites located in Colyford Road and Harepath Road in Seaton as well as Cloakham Lawns in Axminster. This could provide around 3,000 square metres of employment space, creating up to 140 jobs for the local community and district.
A report on the employment sites will be presented to EDDC’s Cabinet in the summer when the council will decide whether to market the sites or deliver the new workspace units itself.
The first phase of the Seaton Seafront Enhancement project was set to cost nearly £7million. This included plans to create a bigger, better and more attractive outdoor space, including cafes, which can be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike near the roundabout close to Fisherman’s Gap.
The council hopes to review phase one, and how the cost can be reduced although cannot commit to working on this in the next financial year.
Following cabinet approval, EDDC is also now in the process of selecting a marketing agent for the Seaton Moridunum site, the Esplanade. This is the former toilet block with ramps either side and viewing platform above. There is an opportunity for the site to be transformed into a café or other leisure related facility.
Councillor Paul Hayward, EDDC’s portfolio holder for economy and assets, said:
“Despite the disappointing outcome of the Levelling Up Fund, which was announced in January, we are still keen to make progress with some of the projects included.
“The council will receive feedback from the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities in due course which will be helpful to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the bid and therefore opportunities to bid in future rounds.
“Whilst the council will progress with the marketing of the Seaton Moridunum site on the seafront, unfortunately, without the assistance of Government funding, the council is limited in what it can do at this time with the Seaton Seafront Enhancement project as a whole and a further review of this project is necessary."