An East Devon councillor is delighted that the long-awaited development of Dinan Way in Exmouth is finally around the corner, and feels that changes around the railway station will also help keep the district on the right track.

A potential extension to Dinan Way, alongside a housing estate built in the 1970s, has been debated almost since the first spade went in the ground.

After decades of speculation, planning permission was granted in 2017.

Nothing much has happened since, and it remains just a partial ring road around the town, with no long-promised direct link to the A376 Exmouth to Exeter road.

Now, a Devon County Council-led application, with the support of East Devon District Council, Exmouth Town Council and MP Simon Jupp has been successful in a bid for Round Two levelling up funding.

One independent East Devon councillor previously had reservations about the proposed extension when the district council was on the hook to contribute around £2 million towards its cost.

Cllr Nick Hookway (Independent, Exmouth Littleham) says that now funding is now coming from Westminster, it is a huge moment for the town. 

“It’s a very welcome development that will make a big difference to Exmouth,” he says.

Nearly £16 million is to go towards the Dinan Way road, together with improvements around what the councils call a ‘transport hub’.

Cynics could argue that Exmouth used to have a transport hub, based around a joint railway and bus station, with an adjacent taxi rank, but that was broken up some years ago.

Now, passengers have to walk from the railway station into the town centre for buses, and across the pedestrianised Strand for taxis.

A ‘transport hub’ may well put back the integration that was removed, as well as freshen up the surrounding area. 

And the transport hub’s embrace of improved facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, coupled with more trees is also a step towards a carbon neutral Devon.

Cllr Hookway says: “The subway will be replaced by a water tank so the water can be collected. It is in a flood zone, so that water can be used effectively.

“It will encourage people to walk, particularly from the train station because there will be new way-finding signs that will encourage people to walk either to the seafront or to the town centre, and it will just be a more attractive entrance.”

Cllr Andrew Colman (Democratic Alliance Group/Liberal Democrat, Exmouth Brixington) welcomes the approval, but admits concern over increased traffic as a result of the extension.

“It will help keep heavy traffic out of the town, so that’s good news,” he explained.

“I am worried about potential new roads leading to new traffic, so I think we’ve still got to keep a lid on development.”