Works to transform Devon’s landscape and skylines have been rocked by the pandemic, like almost everything else.
But 2021 could hopefully be a better year than 2020 – with plenty of landscaping changing developments set to be completed across Devon.
Hmmmm! – Owl
Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com
Devonlive has taken a look into some of the more exciting projects that we can look forward to hopefully opening next year and by the end of 2021.
ST SIDWELL’S POINT
Exeter’s new state-of-the-art new leisure centre is set to open in the Summer of 2021.
Work on the St Sidwell’s Point development continues to take place and the structure rising above the hoarding line and the striking curve of the building is starting to take shape.
CGI image of the new St Sidwell’s Point leisure centre
The £44m passivhaus leisure centre is set to open in the Summer of 2021, and Exeter City Council have released the video showing what it will look like when construction is complete.
St Sidwell’s Point will replace the city’s aging Pyramids swimming pool, and the water quality in the new pool is expected to be better than at any other swimming pool in the country. A special filtration system will mean there will be minimal chemical content.
Built to healthy building and super energy efficient Passivhaus standards, St Sidwell’s Point will include:
- Main swimming pool and learner pool with moveable floors
- Confidence pool for young children
- Spectator seated area
- Health suite, spin studio and two fitness studios
- Spa facility
- Children’s soft play area
EXMOUTH WATERSPORTS CENTRE
Exmouth’s new Sideshore development will be open by the Summer of 2021.
The watersports centre on Exmouth seafront was due to open this summer but has been delayed due to Covid-19. Work has been continuing on the site and a date for when it will all be open is yet to be confirmed.
However, local developer Grenadier has indicated it will be a phased opening which has begun with local operator Edge Watersports opening first. It is being run by four times world champion kitesurfer Steph Bridge.
New aerial pictures of Exmouth’s Sideshore development (Image: TIM PESTRIDGE PHOTOGRAPHY)
As well as offering a watersports centre, the development will include a casual seafront bar, restaurant and café run by Exeter celebrity chef Michael Caines.
The Mickeys Beach Bar and Restaurant alongside Sylvain Peltier and Michael’s Café Patisserie Glacerie – will open in March 2021.
The project will incorporate a casual bar complete with resident weekend DJs, first floor destination restaurant with a glasshouse and outdoor terraces alongside neighbouring Café Patisserie Glacerie which will serve serve artisan pastries and ice-creams.
OKEHAMPTON RAILWAY LINE
Regular Okehampton to Exeter passenger services were withdrawn on June 5, 1972, although since 1997 a limited service has run between Okehampton and Exeter on Sundays during the summer.
But a regular passenger rail service between Okehampton and Exeter is returning, the Government has confirmed.
The reopening of the line between Okehampton and Exeter was included in the Government Comprehensive Spending Review and the National Infrastructure Strategy.
Central Devon MP Mel Stride has said that he hopes to get the service up and running as soon as possible, with a hope being that by the end of 2021, passenger trains will be running.
SANDY PARK HOTEL
Work has begun on the new multi-million pound Sandy Park Hotel in Exeter which when open in December 2021 will be the ‘biggest commercial hotel this side of Bristol’.
The state-of-the-art hotel is the next stage in the development plans of Exeter’s award-winning Sandy Park complex, which is home to Gallagher Premiership Rugby club Exeter Chiefs, and the region’s premier Conference & Banqueting venue.
Once built, the eight-storey, L-shaped, £30m hotel will feature leisure facilities on the ground floor and a restaurant on the top floor, and be a Marriott Courtyard hotel.
In addition to housing 250 bedrooms, the hotel situated off Old Rydon Lane will provide leisure facilities on the ground floor, as well as a rooftop cocktail bar and restaurant that boasts picturesque views along the River Exe Estuary.
Coming under the worldwide Courtyard by Marriott brand, the four-star facility will also boast a glazed bridge link to Sandy Park, as well as an extensive reception area, open plan bar, coffee bar and lounge.
Artist impression of the new Sandy Park Hotel plans
Access to the hotel be via a purpose built footbridge from the existing stadium complex, and it will include a unique, rooftop glazed restaurant for 172 covers on the ninth floor of the hotel.
The rooftop restaurant is described as ‘one of its kind for the area’ and will provide a ‘unique dining experience for guests and visitors’, while the basement of the hotel would provide spa and fitness facilities, including a sauna, steam room and gymnasium.
MARSH BARTON RAILWAY STATION
There is hope that by the end of 2021, trains will finally be stopping at Marsh Barton railway station – five years after they initially should have been.
The planning application for the construction of a new two platform railway station to serve the Marsh Barton Industrial Estate has this week has been approved Devon County Council planners under delegated powers.
As well as the station, the scheme for Clapperbrook Lane East, contains a new cycle way embankment and footbridge, to link the station to, and provide a dedicated pedestrian and cycle way.
Artist impression of the new Marsh Barton railway station
Funding has been secured to cover the current project estimate cost, excluding contingency, and Devon County Council’s cabinet will now meet early in 2021 to discuss, finalise and sign-off on committing the cash towards the build of the station.
No details yet have been revealed as to when the work will begin and when the station will see trains stop, but when the application was submitted in July, it was hoped that the station will be open by the end of 2021.
The delivery of the station has been a long-term aspiration for Devon County Council and forms part of the Devon Metro project, which encompasses a range of rail infrastructure improvements in the Exeter area, with the scheme for Marsh Barton station aimed to provide sustainable access to employment, retail and leisure opportunities.
The proposed station will have two platforms, with the eastern and western platforms served by trains to Newton Abbot and Exeter, respectively. Each platform will be 124 metres in length, sufficient to accommodate trains formed of up to 5 cars, and will be 4m wide.
Each platform will have a waiting shelter, 10m wide by 1.5m deep, containing 12 stainless steel seats with arm rests, and a perch rail for four passengers, as well as one ticket vending machine on each platform, located inside the waiting shelters.
Two help points will be provided on each platform, one adjacent to the waiting shelter, and one in the emergency refuge area, while in addition to the help points, there will also be ‘next train indicators’ on each platform, providing audio and visual information regarding services.
Vehicular access to the station will be from Clapperbrook Lane East, with a new access road meeting the existing road at a junction on the eastern edge of the side, with access to the station for pedestrians and cyclists will be via paths which connect to the new footway/cycleway.
No parking spaces will be provided for general use, as it is expected the station will primarily serve as a destination, and it is intended to encourage use of sustainable modes of transport.
Plans for improved visitor centre at Northam Burrows have been given the go-ahead and will be completed in time for the 201 season.
Torridge District Council will refurbish the existing centre at the country park and build a new single-storey cafe and toilet block with outdoor seating.
The current centre, built in 1985, will be refurbished, see an ‘enhanced exhibition space’ which can be expanded into an education and meeting room used by schools and groups.
A cafe and toilet block will sit opposite and will be manufactured off-site before being delivered to the burrows in time for the 2021 season.
NORTH DEVON LINK ROAD
While not complete, major construction work will have begun in 2021 for the biggest transport investment in North Devon for a generation” after the Department of Transport has signed off on the major improvements to the North Devon Link Road.
The major project, being led by Devon County Council, will boost the local economy by supporting plans for 6,700 new homes in the region, making it easier for people to access job opportunities, and for businesses to get around.
The works will focus on a 7.5km stretch between South Molton and Barnstaple and the route will be modernised with a wider carriageway, which will greatly improve overtaking opportunities, safety and resilience.
The road’s capacity and eight key junctions will be upgraded – and to boost active travel, facilities for pedestrians and cyclists will be introduced along the route.
The main work is slated to start in November 2020, with major construction work would likely begin in 2021, and last for around two years.
Advance planting along the 10km length of the scheme between Filleigh and Portmore has been already been completed, with the scheme’s planting programme involves the planting of over 20,000 trees and bushes to establish ecological habitats before the start of construction work and further replacement of trees and bushes which will be removed.
North Devon Link Road (Image: Lewis Clarke)
Approximately seven kilometres of “alternating overtaking” lanes to the road between Portmore to Landkey (1km), Landkey to Swimbridge (2km) and Swimbridge to Filleigh Cutting (4km) will be added, with them monitored by average speed cameras, which Devon County Council says will provide “more reliable journey times, less accidents and greater resilience”.
Eight junctions will be improved, while a pedestrian/cycle subway to enable safe passage across the A361 at Bishop’s Tawton, with a spiralling bridge to allow the safe crossing of pedestrians and cyclists from Landkey village and a proposed new housing development at Westacott.
The objectives of the scheme are to reduce journey times, improve highway safety through reducing the rate of fatal and serious accidents and improving network resilience through reducing the effects of accidents and incidents on the road.