Improvements to Long Lane near Exeter Airport have been backed by Devon County Council and East Devon District Council to unlock new employment land.
The scheme to improve 1.25 km of Long Lane will bring forward development in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone employment area known as “Airpark”.
The road will be widened to 6.5 metres to improve access on the section running from the Airport Terminal entrance, past Flybe’s New Walker Hangar HQ, the Flybe Training Academy, and Hampton by Hilton Hotel, and through to Harrier Court.
A new access diversion road will be developed from the Silverdown Office Park to maintain access to the Hotel and Flybe’s Hangar HQ and Academy during construction. Once the Long Lane improvements have been completed the “Silverdown Lane Link” will become a bus and cycle route, bringing greener travel choices for Fair Oak Business Park, hotel and Enterprise Zone employees and customers.
A roundabout next to the entrance to the Airport car park 1 is also proposed, as well as improved pedestrian access leading to the Academy and hotel. Discussions with landowners are progressing for the work to take place. The scheme will also support the development of the France-Alderney-Britain (FAB) electric substation.
Councillor Ian Thomas, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: “Anyone who has visited the Airport recently can’t have failed to notice that the current road is not befitting of a major gateway to the area. This enhancement scheme will not only unlock one of the four Enterprise Zone sites, it will also secure a series of wider benefits. This will include supporting enhanced public transport accessibility to the area as well as helping to enable the future growth of the Airport.”
Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development and Waste, said: “This scheme will improve access to key businesses and it is vital to support growth at the Enterprise Zone Airpark development. It will also benefit the future growth of the airport and public transport links.”
The £3million scheme will be forward funded by East Devon District Council through the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone, with contributions being recouped from developers.
Steve Hindley CBE DL, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am delighted to see further investment in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone, which is part of the Heart of the South West’s multi-site enterprise zones offering economic opportunities in the area’s key sectors.
“These enterprise zones, with other sites at Oceansgate in Plymouth and at Gravity in Somerset, enable the local areas to retain a greater share of business rates to re-invest and attract new jobs and growth. The LEP is working with government and local partners to secure further investment and bring forward the next phases of development of these strategically important sites.”
Matt Roach, Managing Director of Exeter Airport, said: “This project opens up huge potential for future growth and unlocks jobs and investment. It will improve access to Exeter Airport as a major transport hub for the south west and cements its role as a critical driver of the regional economy.”
In welcoming today’s Cabinet decision, Flybe CEO, Christine Ourmières-Widener said: “Our airline provides essential air connectivity to and from the region for both business and leisure travellers. The current state of Long Lane poses significant limitations on access to and around the airport.
“For Flybe it is critical to ensure safe access for our 900-plus employees, guests visiting our Exeter HQ in the New Walker Hangar and our customers flying to and from Exeter Airport. All Flybe facilities, including the aircraft maintenance facilities and the Flybe Training Academy are accessed along Long Lane that is currently unfit for purpose. Flybe is very pleased by Devon County Council’s decision to support this much-needed upgrade to Long Lane.”
Councillor Ray Bloxham, County Councillor for Broadclyst, said: “Improvements to this road are very welcome particularly in such an important strategic location adjacent to Exeter Airport. The potential benefits to the local economy are significant.”
Councillor Sara Randall Johnson, County Councillor for Broadclyst, said: “We are committed to supporting business and employment opportunities along with providing safer route to work for the work force.”
Clare Cochrane, of Commercial Property Consultants Vickery Holman, who act on behalf of AD Land Exeter Ltd, owner of AirPark, said: “This is a very positive development which will provide a much needed and long-awaited benefit to the whole area. Not only will it enhance the first impression of the area surrounding the Airport and aide accessibility, but it will also unlock a large, strategically located prime employment site within the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone. AirPark will offer the opportunity to develop new business and industrial accommodation, which has been in exceptionally short supply, so we expect to receive a healthy level of interest when we start to market it.”
Further information is available from Vickery Holman on 01392 20 30 10.