EDDC hopes Persimmon and Crown Estates will pay them back for Axminster Relief Road!

Owl says: good luck with that!

“Councillors are being asked to borrow nearly £7m to ensure the long-awaiting Axminster relief road can be delivered.

The £16.7m road, which hopes to finally end the bottleneck of traffic travelling through the town centre, would be built to the east of the town near land allocated in the Local Plan for 650 homes, eight hectares of employment land, and a primary school.

£10m from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund will help deliver the road, with the remainder of the cost covered by developers.

But East Devon District Council’s Cabinet is being recommended to borrow and forward fund the remaining £6.7m, and claw the funds back from developers at a later date, to ensure the road can be built in one swoop and not in stages, as Persimmon Homes control the northern and southern parts of the site and would provide the two ends of the relief road, while the Crown Estate control land in the middle.

A draft masterplan which will provide a template for the development of the site is expected to come before the Strategic Planning Committee by the end of 2018.

The report of Ed Freeman, Service Lead for Planning Strategy and Development Management, to next Wednesday’s cabinet meeting says: “The relief road is vital to the future growth of the town given the impact that HGV’s and other traffic passing through the town has on congestion, air quality, the attractiveness of the town centre and the damage that has been caused to historic buildings as large vehicles try and navigate its narrow streets. The relief road has the potential to divert 30 per cent of all traffic which travels east after passing through the town centre.”

Mr Freeman is recommending that the Council deliver the road in its entirety from the start of this project using the £10m HIF funding they have successfully bid for and borrowing the shortfall.

He added: “It is considered that the only realistic and viable means of delivering the relief road and doing it in good time to deliver the benefits for the community of Axminster is to procure and deliver the entire relief road borrowing the additional funds from the public loans and works board with repayment secured from the developers.

…. Questions though have been raised about whether the proposed north/south bypass that runs to the east of the town is the best option for Axminster.

At a recent town forum event concerning the relief road, residents said that a western route would be preferable as it would eliminate the bottleneck at the Weycroft Bridge, which the current proposed eastern route did not.

However, reporting back at a town council meeting, Cllr Ian Hall, East Devon District Council’s ward member for Axminster Rural and County Councillor for Axminster, said that the £10 million Housing Infrastructure Funding was not transferable to another route in Axminster.”