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The area in and around Westward Ho! has experienced significant levels of investment since the turn of the decade. The Heart of the South West Growth Deal was signed in late 2014, securing £195.5m of government funding. Predictions are that it will create up to 22,000 new jobs and generate up to £260m in private investment between 2015 and 2021. Highlights of the proposed projects include the provision of super fast broadband coverage across the region and improvements to local motorway links. Devon’s hospitality sector is already starting to see the benefits of the new South Devon Link Road – a three-year construction project that opened in December 2015. These improvements have made large areas of the county more accessible to tourists, with similar investment on the North Devon Link Road planned over the next few years. Research by Lloyds TSB has also shown that property prices in Areas of Outstanding National Beauty increase faster than other areas. This reflects the quality of life benefits associated with living in some of the UK’s most coveted beauty spots, providing buyers with healthy capital growth potential.
Westward Ho! is part of a Devon economy that is worth over £20 billion – the largest in the South West region. It has grown by 67% over the last decade – significantly faster than the UK average of 53%. At 76.8%, the employment rate also sits higher than the national average and 46% of its workforce are educated to a degree level. Other highlights of the county’s economy include:
• Large Skilled Workforce – over a third of the population are educated to degree standard or above, rising to 43% in parts.
• High Employment Rates – 76.8%, higher than the UK average of 71.1%.
• Research and Development Capability – the South West has soared ahead of other parts of the UK in this field, while Devon has among the highest number of granted patents in the region.
• Respected Region for Higher Education – a large proportion of academic research from the three leading universities is rated as world leading or internationally excellent.
• Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Devon’s business survival rate is over 5% above the national average and the number of patents granted per capita is three times the UK average.
• Strong Transport Links – one of the UK’s fastest growing airports and rapid transport links make Devon an excellent gateway to national and international destinations
• Low Overheads – labour costs in Devon are highly competitive, rents and rates for office space, retail premises and factories are also significantly lower.
• Outstanding Quality of Life – consistently ranked the best place to live in the UK. Tourism is a key component of the North Devon economy. It attracts approximately six million visitors each year and £2.1 billion of spending. Large companies in North Devon include:
• TDK-Lambda – a global leader in the development and manufacture of power supplies and converters
• Forest Fuels – a specialist wood fuel supplier and consultant to small and medium scale heat boilers.
• Mole Energy – at the forefront of new developments in the renewable energy sector
• Actavis – one of the world’s leading players in the development, manufacture and sale of first-class generic pharmaceuticals.
• Perrigo – a leading global healthcare supplier that develops, manufactures and distributes over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pharmaceuticals and nutritional products
• Mole Valley Farmers – one of a few true co-operatives in the UK’s agricultural supply industry, with a turnover of more than £130m
• Babcock – the UK’s leading engineering support services organisation, with revenue of over £3.2bn in 2013
• J & S Marine – delivers robust and cost-effective solutions to customers’ requirements across all military markets, in civil maritime markets and the offshore energy business.
The existing planning consent lapsed, as it was approved over 15 years ago. A new planning consent was presented in May 2017 whereby the unit numbers were approved, the CIL 106 was rated at zero contribution, but planning failed on external design. This was an oversight on our architects design, assuming that a more energy efficient building would be accepted.
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