Exeter To Benefit From New Infrastructure Partnership Programme
By Sofy Robertson
Exeter is among five cities chosen to work with the National Infrastructure Commission as leaders develop strategies to improve transport connections, unlock job opportunities and provide much-needed new homes.
Exeter will become a case study to demonstrate what cities across the country can do in these areas. It will also showcase the difference that long-term funding certainty recommended in the UK’s first ever National Infrastructure Assessment can make.
Working with its strategic partners, Exeter aims to deliver 50,000 new homes by 2040. Working with Exeter City Council, the Commission will develop a strategic plan for these new homes as well as improvements to local transport and job opportunities.
The other four locations that have been chosen to work with the Commission on in-depth case studies over the next year are Basildon, Derby, Liverpool and cities in the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Area.
Each city will have the chance to start this work now and demonstrate what greater certainty over long-term funding could enable them to deliver for their residents.
During the process, Exeter and the other cities chosen will work alongside the National Infrastructure Commission to have access to experienced professionals who will be able to provide a fresh outside perspective on how they might tackle local transport issues in the area.
The announcement has been welcomed by Exeter City Council and Devon County Council, which is the highways authority.
Karime Hassan, the City Council’s Chief Executive and Growth Director, said:
“Exeter is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, with one of the largest travel-to-work areas.
“Infrastructure challenges present the biggest obstacle to realising further growth in this dynamic city region.
“We are excited to work with the NIC on addressing these challenges in an innovative and ambitious manner.”
Phil Norrey, Devon County Council’s Chief Executive, said:
“Devon County Council recognises the importance of Exeter to Devon’s economy and we have made good progress in helping deliver around £80 million of new transport infrastructure for the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point since 2011.
“The National Infrastructure Commission work looks to the future and we are looking forward to working with Exeter City Council and the Commission in building on previous success and developing a transport strategy that will allow for growth whilst providing for an improved quality of life.”
Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt said:
“We want cities across the South West – and the country as a whole – to thrive and prosper. But their efforts will be stymied by poor public transport and traffic congestion.
“Our partnership programme will help Exeter and four other chosen cities as they design plans to improve local transport – which in turn will demonstrate the real benefits that devolving funding for the long term will bring.”
Established in 2015, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is an independent body tasked with providing clear advice to the Government on how best to meet the country’s long-term infrastructure needs.
In its National Infrastructure Assessment – the first of its kind for the UK – the Commission recommends that Ministers provide new powers and £43 billion funding on top of current spending levels between now and 2040 to city leaders including Metro Mayors, to develop long-term strategies for improving transport links.
The Assessment also highlights the need for these strategies to provide job opportunities and deliver much-needed new homes.
Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said:
“Cities are where the national economy happens. We have long argued for places up and down the country to have more certainty and long-term funding to invest in infrastructure, as the NIA rightly recommends.
“That is why we are delighted to be part of the Commission’s initiative, to offer cities extra support and advice, and to share the lessons of this work with places more widely.”