DEVON County Council has welcomed yesterday's Growth Deal announcement by the Government as a good deal for Devon’s economy.

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership has secured £130.3 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund to support economic growth in the area to 2021.

The deal will support significant improvements in transport infrastructure, open up key housing and employment sites, and invest in skills in existing and growth industries across Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay.

By 2021, the deal will create 13,000 jobs and enable 8,000 homes to be built.

It also includes a commitment for the Department for Transport and Network Rail to proactively engage with the LEP on long term rail planning, and for the Government to enable LEPs to work more closely with the Skills Funding Agency and National Careers Service to ensure that local priorities are met.

In Devon, the Growth Deal will support a number of improvements proposed along the North Devon Link Road/A39 corridor have received supported for the coming financial year with a £1million investment in 2015/16 in Heywood Road Junction on the A39 in Bideford, £2 million for further improvements around the Roundswell access in Barnstaple, which includes £700,000 in 2015/16, and £1.5 million for improvements to the A361 North Devon Link Road, which includes £500,000 in 2015/16.

The funding will also support:

- a £3.4 million investment to widen Bridge Road in Exeter;

- £2 million investment in the A38 Deep Lane Sherford Access;

- An indicative £600,000 in Marsh Barton and Edginswell Rail Stations in 2016/17;

- £1 million investment in the Newcourt Junction on the A379 in Exeter;

- £5.9 million to upgrade the A382.

Local financial contributions will be provided for all of these infrastructure projects, including the £27.1 million previously allocated to the Local Transport Board, which will enable schemes such as the Marsh Barton Rail station to start in 2015/16.

The Growth Deal is also providing investment in employment and innovation with £2.5million towards the Environmental Futures Campus at Exeter Science Park in 2015/16. Mobile 4G connectivity will also be boosted with a £2.5 million of funding, including £1.3 million in 2015/16.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “This is a good deal for Devon which demonstrates that the Government has recognised the quality of the partnership’s bid.

"We're very pleased to see support provided for a number of vital projects which will benefit economic growth in our county.

"Investment in our road and rail infrastructure is especially welcome, particularly with the development opportunities that will be unlocked by the schemes across the county.

“It's encouraging to see funding included to support new knowledge based employment, as well as mobile broadband, which will help the rural economy by connecting a large number of businesses and residents. The commitment from Government to work with LEPs and ourselves to forge stronger links between education and training providers, employers and our young people is an important step.”

The latest investment from the Growth Deal is expected to unlock an additional £140 million of investment from local partners and the private sector.