Axminster relief road could be ‘a game changer’

PUBLISHED: 15:01 09 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:07 11 July 2018

Soccer fan Cllr Ian Hall says a new relief road should be Axminster's goal. Picture SUBMITTED

Soccer fan Cllr Ian Hall says a new relief road should be Axminster's goal. Picture SUBMITTED

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Tory councillor urges residents to attend first consultation event - before cheering on England’s footballers.

Axminster County Councillor Ian Hall is urging local people to express their views on plans for Axminster’s north south relief road.

A drop-in afternoon at Axminster Heritage Centre on Wednesday (July 11) will kick off public consultation on the benefits that a bypass could bring – not only in terms of traffic management but the many economic and community advantages, too.

But when consultants arranged the Relief Road Masterplan event, nobody knew that England’s football team would be playing for a place in the 2018 World Cup finals on the same day.

Now Cllr Hall wants people to visit the drop-in event, which starts at 2pm, before it closes at 7pm – when the match against Croatia kicks off in Moscow. He says there will be time to get to a TV screen for those who want to watch the game.

He said: “I know there are people who are not fans of the proposal for an Axminster relief road and all that goes with it. But I’d urge everyone to come along to find out where we are with this vital project and express their opinion. But I’d invite them to also consider how fantastic it could be.

“In the same way that an England win in Russia could be life-changing for football in this country, the benefits that the relief road can deliver for Axminster are also a game-changer.

“The young people of Axminster are the future of our town and they will need homes and they will need jobs. The potential of the relief road is underlined by the promise of £10 million we’ve been able to secure from the Conservative Government towards this project.

“The World Cup is our country’s best chance in 52 years to win a very important prize. The relief road project is the best chance Axminster has had in many a long year to win the prize of regeneration and greater prosperity. I want us to give this our best shot.”

The masterplan will provide a template for the development of the site and a guide for planning applications that are expected to be made later this year by Persimmon Homes and the Crown Estate.

Delivering the relief road alongside the homes, primary school, employment space, community facilities, and open space required in the Local Plan for East Devon will be a major challenge. The masterplan will also show how each element is distributed across the site and how traffic and pedestrian routes can forge strong links with the existing town.

Added Cllr Hall: “The relief road is the key to unlocking a great future for Axminster. I’m delighted to see progress being made on proposals for the road and the development to the east of the town.

“The drop-in event kicks off at 2 pm. and runs for up to five hours. I don’t want this opportunity to pass or for Axminster to pay the penalty of not getting it right. We need everybody to play a role in ensuring that we take this project forward and make it a winner!”.

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