Work has started on road improvements for enhanced access at Exeter Airport via Long Lane.
The new access will help to boost economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, support new employment and provide opportunities for clean and inclusive growth. The enhancements to Long Lane will unlock development of the new 19 acre AirPark site in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone which is expected to create around 1,000 jobs.
Valued at £3.7 million, the scheme will also facilitate a bus loop and cycleway, substantially improving access to the new Future Skills Centre and the maintenance hangars which have recently been taken over by Exeter Aerospace. The scheme will also improve the access to Exeter Airport, a major gateway to the region, and help to facilitate the construction of key infrastructure for the forthcoming France-Aldernay-Britain interconnector project.
Councillor Paul Arnott, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: “At long last, it’s great to see work starting on this access improvement which will help bring forward a new site and bring new jobs to our Enterprise Zone. I’m delighted to see the focus on sustainable transport with improved pedestrian, cycling and bus links all part of the plan. Its good news for local young people who will be able to get to the new Future Skills Centre which in turn will improve the ability to access much needed highly-skilled job opportunities.”
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “Upgrading Long Lane will help the Enterprise Zone to achieve its potential, improving travel choices and supporting future growth, enhancing access to the Enterprise Zone’s Airpark site, and providing wider benefits to the area, such as improved public transport provision, access and enhanced walking and cycling infrastructure, including to the Exeter Airport and the Exeter College Future Skills Centre. The Future Skills Centre is another example of how Devon County Council is investing in future high-tech jobs, training and supporting the local economy.”
David Ralph, Chief Executive of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This work marks an important milestone in unlocking development of the new AirPark site in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone. This will bring around 1000 new jobs to the area as well as supporting opportunities for increased productivity and clean growth. It will also provide crucial support for Exeter Airport as a key gateway to the region and support recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
On 30 September 2020, East Devon District Council’s Cabinet agreed to borrow up to an additional £12 million, adding to the £8million already agreed, to invest in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone. All borrowing will be against future ring-fenced business rate income from the Enterprise Zone sites.
Despite the wider economic circumstances, there are positive signs that the Enterprise Zone designation is helping to encourage and accelerate investment including:
· The Science Park has been awarded £5m from the government’s ‘Getting Building’ fund to support the delivery of a ‘Grow-out Building’. This is in addition to the development of the Ada Lovelace building which is expected to complete in March.
· Burrington Estates has submitted a planning application for 35 commercial units on Skypark and Stovax has recently committed to the development to a new purpose built 200,000 sq ft facility expected to open in 2022
· Plans have recently been agreed for the development of Cranbrook town centre including a new Morrison supermarket.