The team is working on a range of infrastructure projects, with partners, to support the growth and resilience of the economy. This includes the deployment of superfast broadband, development of a range of employment sites in strategic locations, Mobile coverage, District Heating and energy schemes.
This £171m programme is bringing superfast broadband to rural areas that would otherwise not see commercial investment. To date, 327,000 homes and businesses across the local authority areas of Devon, Torbay, Plymouth, Somerset, North Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset now have access to faster broadband thanks to CDS, which is the biggest public funded broadband programme in England.
Phase two of the programme is underway and is set to provide over 60,000 of the hardest to reach homes and businesses with superfast or ultrafast broadband by the end of 2019.
Around two thirds of all broadband infrastructure built or planned in the region is wholly commercial. CDS fills the gaps in rural communities and businesses where the commercial market will not provide the infrastructure.
As part of the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, there is also a programme of business and community support that is delivered free of charge. The service is delivered by the Comic Peninsula Consortium. To find out more please visit the website here.
We are working in partnership with Exeter City Council, East Devon district Council, developers and central government, to deliver a development programme worth over £2 billion. This includes the first new town in Devon since the medieval times, next generation business parks, and a community energy centre.
Devon County Council has worked in partnership with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) and East Devon District Council to develop the Exeter & East Devon Enterprise Zone within the Growth Point. This will provide business rate relief for new and growing businesses, worth up to £55,000 per business year on year, for up to 5 years. More information can be found on the East Devon District Council website.
Adjacent to Exeter International Airport, Exeter’s Skypark is a new generation of business park combining office, industrial and distribution space with hotel, local facilities and a biomass and gas combined heat and power plant. Skypark is predicted to have a significant positive impact on the local economy as part of the wider Exeter and East Devon Growth Point Initiative, with the creation of up to 6,500 jobs over the next 20 years. Skypark is one of the key sites in the Enterprise Zone.
Located at the gateway to the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point the park offers immediate access to the M5 motorway and Exeter International Airport. With considerable scientific resource on the door step, including the Met Office and the University of Exeter, companies located at the park will benefit from strong regional, national and international networks. Science Park is one of the key sites in the Enterprise Zone.
Strategic Employment Sites
In addition to developments at the Growth Point, and management of the Council’s own Industrial Estate Portfolio, the team is currently working to bring forward two strategic employment sites in West and North Devon, utilising land owned by DCC, and in response to identified economic need.
a. Okehampton East Business Park
This site comprises c.12 net developable acres for which outline planning consent has been secured for mixed business use. Infrastructure works have been completed and all the plots are now under offer to a good mix of mainly local and expanding businesses. The site when fully developed out has potential to support more than 400 jobs.
b. Roundswell South Business Park (Land South A39)
This 10 acre site is allocated in the emerging North Devon & Torridge Local Plan for a mixed use, high quality business park, and Park & Ride facility. An outline planning application has been submitted. Construction is already underway for pedestrian and cycle access into the site across the A39. Working with colleagues in Transport and with North Devon Council, external funding is being sought for the remaining infrastructure works and development of an Innovation Centre on the site. Formal marketing of the site has not yet commenced, however, any interested parties can log their details with our property agents at NPS.
Working with public sector partners in Exeter we have set up a joint venture Dextco to deliver District Heating in the City Centre and potentially in South West Exeter. Partners are Exeter City Council, University of Exeter, RD&E hospital and Teignbridge District Council. Procurement of a private sector partner to build and operate the City Centre scheme is being launched in Summer 2017. We are working with North Devon Council on the assessment of district heating potential in Barnstaple. Both projects are part funded by central government’s Heat Networks Delivery Unit. In addition to this we are working with Teignbridge District Council on potential district heating schemes in Newton Abbot.
Mobile Phone Reception in Devon
Comprehensive mobile phone coverage in Devon is very important to economic and social development, and it is now regarded as a utility. The Economy and Enterprise Service has commissioned consultants to work with us to develop a business case for public investment to improve mobile phone coverage. Procurement for scheme delivery is expected to be launched early 2018.
Transport lobbying and resilience
We work closely with our colleagues in transport planning to ensure that, where possible, Devon’s growth is not hindered by transport constraints. This includes lobbying central government and rail providers as well as providing economic evidence to support proposals.