Radical plans which will see Cullompton double in size and potentially gain a railway station have been given the seal of approval from Westminster.
Today the Government announced a housing project on the edge of the town had been selected as one of fourteen new Garden Villages which will receive a slice of £6 million of funding.
Cllr Richard Chesterton said this means proposals to revolutionise Cullompton’s transport infrastructure could be completed on a quicker timescale.
Around 2,100 homes will be built in the Culm Garden VIllage by 2033 and developers also want to construct a relief road to run through Cullompton and reopen the town’s railway station.
Cllr Richard Chesterton, who helped put the bid together to get village status from the government, said: “It will now be much more likely some of the infrastructure badly needed by Cullompton such as the relief road and the reopening of the railway station will come to fruition sooner rather than later.”
The village will include starter homes, affordable housing, schools, shops and commercial space as well as an open area with a sports hub.
Plans will see Cullompton double in size
The project is being developed by Lightwood, on behalf of the landowners and is the result of close consultation with Mid Devon District Council, local council and the Cullompton community.
Part of the proposal, put together by Lightwood, includes the reopening of Cullompton station just 1 mile away from the village and being involved in the new Devon Metro service running from Wellington to Exeter.
The scheme will also include an eastern relief road which will reduce traffic through Cullompton while Junction 28 of the M5 will be remodelled.
The developers say flood mitigation measures will take in to account current water management issues in the wider Cullompton area.
Cllr Chesterton, who serves the neighbouring Lower Culm ward and is cabinet member for planning, said it was good news for Cullompton.
“Cullompton is a historic town centre which has so much to offer the wider area, it has much untapped potential and I think Mid Devon as a district offers a very good quality of life.
“The area was recently voted very highly in a study of towns and locations to bring your family up.”
The Garden Village scheme has attracted some criticism from opposition group No Eco Town who say councils should not be developing on greenfield sites.
Cllr Chesterton said: “There will always be people who say they don’t want more homes to be built but we are still facing a major shortage nationally.
“There are still people living in cramped conditions or people in shared accommodation who would quite like to be able to buy their first home or get onto the property ladder; I think it’s important we take steps to meet their needs as well.”
James Turner, director of Lightwood, said, “We’ll continue to work with Mid Devon District Council and the local community to design a place that reflects the location and needs of the people of Cullompton and wider communities – a place that Cullompton can be proud of.
“I believe that Culm Garden Village will provide the blueprint for other garden villages across the country and we are honoured to be the pioneers in that initiative.”
In other parts of the South West, West Carclaze near St Austell has also been selected.
Around 1,500 new energy-efficient homes will be built, plus space for self-build and custom-built housing and a new primary school for more than 400 pupils.
Larger scale garden towns in Aylesbury, Bucks, Taunton in Somerset and Harlow and Gilston, on the Essex-Herts border, have also been signed off by the Government.
In total the Government estimates the initiative could create 200,000 properties.
Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said: “Locally led garden towns and villages have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need.
“New communities not only deliver homes, they also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies. These places combined could provide almost 200,000 homes.”
The new villages are Long Marston in Stratford-on-Avon; Oxfordshire Cotswold in west Oxfordshire; Deenethorpe in east Northamptonshire; Culm in Mid Devon; Welborne near Fareham in Hampshire; West Carclaze in Cornwall;
Dunton Hills near Brentwood, Essex; Spitalgate Heath in South Kesteven District, Lincolnshire; Halsnead in Knowsley, Merseyside; Longcross in Runnymede and Surrey Heath; Bailrigg in Lancaster; Infinity Garden Village in south Derbyshire; St Cuthberts near Carlisle; and North Cheshire in Cheshire East.