Work is under way on a £3.7million road improvement scheme at Exeter Airport that will pave the way for a major new East Devon business park boasting 1,000 jobs.
The Long Lane enhancement project will ‘unlock’ development of a 19-acre ‘AirPark’ site.
It will form part of the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone.
The Long Lane scheme will widen the road that runs past Exeter Airport and down to Hampton by Hilton hotel.
It also features a bus loop and cycleway to the Future Skills Centre and the maintenance hangars which have recently been taken over by Exeter Aerospace.
Improved access to Exeter Airport will help to facilitate construction of key infrastructure for the forthcoming France-Aldernay-Britain interconnector project as well.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) says the work will ‘help boost economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, support new employment and provide opportunities for clean and inclusive growth’.
Leader Paul Arnott 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.
“It’s 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.”
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 1,000 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.”
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council cabinet member for economy and skills, added: “Upgrading Long Lane will help the Enterprise Zone to achieve its potential, improving travel choices and supporting future growth.”
EDDC’s cabinet agreed in September last year to borrow up to an extra £12million – on top of an already-agreed £8million – 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.
The council says there are ‘positive signs’ the enterprise zone designation is helping to ‘encourage and accelerate investment’.
Exeter Science Park has been awarded £5million from the Government’s to support the delivery of a ‘grow-out building’.
Burrington Estates has submitted a planning application for 35 commercial units on Skypark.
Stovax has recently committed to the development of a purpose-built, 200,000 sq ft facility expected to open in 2022.
Plans have also recently been agreed for the development of Cranbrook town centre -including a new Morrison supermarket.