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A partnership of public and private sector organisations working together to deliver a massive boost to the economy in Exeter and East Devon has welcomed news that vital improvements to Junction 29 of the M5 have on 4 February 2011 been given the go-ahead by the Government .
The Department for Transport has announced that Devon County Council will be awarded £10.4 million to help pay for the scheme, with the bulk of the money coming in the new financial year. Other funding will be provided by developers who are part of the Growth Point partnership.
The road scheme is designed to open up the east of Exeter and create thousands of new jobs. Work will begin this Spring.
Junction 29 holds the key to providing 10,000 new jobs on Exeter Science Park and Skypark, along with a new freight terminal and the expansion of Exeter Airport. It will increase the capacity of Junction 29 and provide direct access to the Science Park.
These projects and others that come under the umbrella of the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point are part of an inter-locking jigsaw of homes, jobs and transport links, so every scheme that receives approval, funding, or both, is a further step toward a brighter future for the area.
News of the Government decision comes as a welcome shot in the arm for the region at a time when most of the headlines are about cuts and reductions in levels of service.
Exeter City Council Leader Pete Edwards, who is chair of the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point, said: "This announcement is brilliant news and due reward for all the partners who have been working on this for some years to enable the package of developments to go ahead which are so important to Exeter and the wider area.
"The vision has always been to realise the potential of Exeter as a major regional centre, provide a range of employment opportunities, and a self-sufficient new community close to where many of the new jobs will be provided".
Sara Randall Johnson, Leader of East Devon District Council (EDDC), was also delighted at the news. She said: "This is still further evidence of the importance of this area as a sound investment opportunity. It is a vote of confidence in all those public and private sector partners who are pulling together the various strands that make up this inspirational picture".
The Government announcement comes as EDDC prepares to discuss a detailed application for Phase 1 of the new eco-town of Cranbrook. If agreed in March, this would signal a start on building the first 1,120 homes in the first stand-alone community built in Devon since the Middle Ages. This new 21st Century community has strong green credentials, including a ground-breaking district heating system.
A new bridge over the M5 is expected to be craned into position in the next few weeks and the Flybe Academy is nearing completion. Other vital road links will be provided by the proposed Clyst Honiton By-Pass.