“Funding [loan] agreed for Axminster relief road that will end gridlock in the town centre

This loan of £7 million is being taken out based on an expectation that developers will pay it back … good luck there councillors, especially as developers are Crown Estates and … drum roll or scary music … PERSIMMON!

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/funding-agreed-axminster-relief-road-2211212

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.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/7m-borrowed-council-ensure-axminster-2147861

Wainhomes in the (bad) spotlight again

Many will recall Feniton’s problems with Wainhomes, for example:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/05/31/wainhomes-feniton-another-second-chance-and-another-and-another/

and those in Axminster:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/07/26/wainhomes-axminster-eddc-considers-legal-action-to-recover/

You might also have seen the feature on regional BBC Breakfast this morning where residents at the Wainhomes estate in Tawton having to move out because floors not finished, outside rendering falling off walls. They interviewed one unhappy house owner who’d been complaining for two-and-a-half years.

Interestingly enough there’s a website devoted to complaints about this company: https://www.thewainhomesnightmare.co.uk/?page_id=121

It seems to highlight a flaw whereby developers can build defective houses, but policing by NHBC not up to scratch.

Buyer beware, as they say!

Axminster by-pass – east or west?

East: developers of eastern extension to the town have to chip in = cheaper solution

West: no developer funding but solves the problem of Weycroft Mill bottleneck = more expensive solution.

Owl’s guess: no common sense or forward planning = cheapest wins

“Axminster Town Council has called a special meeting to discuss plans for the town’s long awaited north-south relief road.

It follows growing concerns about the current ‘preferred’ route and will take place on Thursday, September 27, at 7.30pm in The Guildhall. It will be open to the public.

Under present proposals the £20million scheme takes the road to the East of the town, emerging on the Lyme Road.

But campaigners are becoming increasingly worried that this will not solve the major problem of the Weycroft Bridge bottleneck.

And there are calls that the alternative route – to the west of the town – should be looked at again, despite its much higher cost.

* East Devon District Council has appointed consultants to produce a masterplan for the bypass and the associated housing development which will help to fund it, following its successful bid for £10 million government money towards the project.”

http://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/campaigners-want-route-to-go-west-of-the-town-1-5695852

Western East Devon profits from extra buses; eastern east devon gets nothing. Time to join West Dorset?

Yet again, the eastern side of our district loses out to the richer, Exeter commuter belt which now gets more buses to serve the “growth point” Exeter suburbs. We’ve lost our community hospitals to the west, now we’ve lost out on bus routes:

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/exeter-devon-stagecoach-bus-times-1846544

It seems we have no growth strategy for the towns and villages on the Dorset border. Is it time for the eastern side of the district perhaps to join West Dorset?

What does it have to lose?

River Cottage HQ: controversial extension to be decided tomorrow

Daily Mail says yes:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5655473/Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstalls-River-Cottage-HQ-set-expanded.html

Natural England seems not so sure and there seem to be unresolved drainage issues:
http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2449194/010518combineddmcagenda.pdf
(page 107 onwards)

But all should be well as Oliver Letwin MP has written in support.

To be decided tomorrow