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Exmouth projects backed

Monday, October 28th, 2019 12:41pm

By Daniel Clark, Local Democracy Reporting Service

They'll be paid for by cash from developers.

The money comes from Community Infrastructure Levy contributions the council has collected from housing developments in and around the district.

Up to £1.5m – 44 per cent of the cost – will be contributed to the expansion proposal at Exmouth Community College, while a contribution of £400,000 will be made to Devon County Council towards the Dinan Way extension, subject to a significant contribution from Exmouth Town Council being made.

Planning permission for the Dinan Way extension, which would ease congestion by providing an alternative route to the unsuitable local roads currently used and provide a connection to the A376, was granted in 2017.

The cost of the project totals £11.16m and Government money from a ‘pinch point’ fund is available to help finance it. Devon County Council is set to contribute £558,000 towards the project and asked for East Devon and Exmouth town councils to match their contribution.

Cllr Nick Hookway questioned why the council was being asked to help fund it given that Devon County Council has a budget for highways. He said: “They know about it, local councillors have supported it, but they have chosen not to support it, but are happy to fund other schemes here. We do need the Dinan Way road but are we setting a precedent for future schemes?”

Chief executive Mark Williams though said that a match funding bid that could lever in a lot more money from the Government, and Cllr Mike Allen added: “We have been fighting for this for years and it will open up a new opportunity for people to enter and exit the town.”

The Service Lead for Planning Strategy – Ed Freeman – told the committee that Devon County Council were concerned that if the project was not secured through funding they were concerned about whether the Dinan Way extension would be delivered at all.

A Devon County Council spokesman said: “The contribution towards Dinan Way will enable a future bid for government funding. The scheme will reduce HGV traffic through the centre of Exmouth, while also improving bus route options and providing new cycle connections to the Exe Estuary Trail. Design work on the plans is ongoing.”

Devon County Council had also requested a £1.5m contribution from CIL contributions to help fund the expansion proposal for Exmouth Community College.

Cllr Philip Skinner, who was once a pupil at the school, said that it was a massive school in a massive area and it was imperative that the council go 100 per cent behind it.

Cllr Mike Howe added that the school has been a ‘sad case’ as it needed the money desperately. He said: “We have the funds to do it at last and with the added pressure of extra development around Exmouth, we should put our money where our mouth is and reinforce education as being important in East Devon.”

Concerns were raised by Cllr Hookway that there is a need for a second community college in Exmouth and putting the cash towards this could stop the county council being pushed towards delivery the new school.

But Cllr Skinner said there was an urgent need for the school to expand because the additional numbers anticipated from the new housing developments would not be sustainable, and the discussion around a second school was one that should take place another day.

The school is set to get a new £15million new building to future-proof the school for the next 50 years and once again see it become the largest school in the UK.

The old and outdated humanities building at the northern end of the school at the Green Close site, which is currently home to around 20 classrooms, two halls, a gym, library, computer rooms and reception area, will be demolished, and built in its place will be a new building that will take into account the curriculum demands and the types of classrooms that the specialist maths and computing academy requires.

The new building will future proof the school for the next 50 years and enable the school to increase its capacity from the current 2,420 to around 2,800 in 2020.

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