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More details revealed about the next stage of Cranbrook expansion plans

By 2031 Cranbrook will have homes for 20,000 people and it will be the second biggest town in East Devon

The next stage of the plan detailing how Cranbrook will expand to accommodate 8,000 households over the next 15 years will be published by the end of 2018.

A public consultation took place at the start of 2018 and initial feedback was considered by East Devon District Council’s Strategic Planning Committee in March.

The concerns raised were about the extent of development to the south of the London Road, particularly where this intrudes into Rockbeare parish. Also there were worries about proposals for Gypsy and Traveller sites and about a wider mix of types of housing to ensure a balanced community, representative of society as a whole.

Feedback from that report is now being considered and the publication draft of the Cranbrook Plan is set to be taken to the meeting of the Full Council on December 12, 2018 for agreement to consult on and submit the plan.

If that is approved, the plan will likely be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination in early 2019, a council spokesman said.

More details about the proposed town centre for Cranbrook are also expected to be revealed in the plan as well. The town centre will be built on land next to the Cranberry Farm pub, which will eventually be in the middle of the town.

It comes as Exeter City Council planners, contrary to the recommendation of officers, rejected plans for a retail park at the Moor Exchange at the east of Exeter earlier this week.

Concerns had been raised about the impact that a new retail park at the East of Exeter would have had on the proposed Cranbrook Town Centre, with both East Devon New Community Partners, the Cranbrook developers, and East Devon District Council objecting to the schemes. Devon New Community Partners had said: “The applicants have stated that one of the purposes of the development is to provide retail facilities for new business and residential communities, some of which are in East Devon.

“However, these developments have been designed with their own centres/ancillary facilities, which represent the most sustainable solution to meeting the needs of people living and working in the area and the proposal could undermine the viability and deliverability of these.”

East Devon District Council said: “There is already development in the consented town centre at Cranbrook which would face competition from this development and emerging developments will also be affected. The impact assessment should take into account existing development and development expected to come forward over the next five years.”

A council spokesman following the meeting said: “East Devon District Council feels it would not be appropriate to comment on the decision around Cranbrook.”

The proposed town centre is set to include 13 retail units, as well as a town hall with a library and an auditorium, a health and wellbeing centre and a leisure centre. No details as to occupiers have been revealed, but work is continuing with the developer consortium to progress the already consented parts of the town, including development of the town centre.
The Strategic Planning Committee in March heard that the location and extent of development to the south of the London Road, particularly where this intrudes into Rockbeare parish, was a concern.

But a report said: “Development south of the London Road is also important for meeting the Local Plan requirement to allocate land for an additional 1,550 homes at Cranbrook, which would have to go elsewhere in the district if not at Cranbrook. Members asked officers to give further consideration to these proposals and their impact as part of their work in progressing the plan for Cranbrook.”

Another key issue that had caused concern to residents through the consultation was proposals for Gypsy and Traveller sites

The report acknowledged the sensitivity of these proposals, particularly the suggested site off Station Road, and a recommended action was to look to allocate an alternative site and to only allocate permanent pitches.

It also highlighted a number of other issues that need to be resolved including how a wider mix of different types of housing can be brought forward in the town to ensure that a balanced community, representative of society as a whole, is brought forward.

There are also significant issues to resolve around how services and facilities are to be provided in the town in the future and how these are to be paid for, as the town has been founded on the basis of being led by the private sector and public services have limited resources to invest, the report added, saying it is however important that the town has everything it needs to function like any other town.

Outline planning permission for the first 2,900 homes at Cranbrook was issued in October 2010 followed shortly by the reserved matters for the first 1,100 homes in April 2011. Today there are approximately 1,700 households living at Cranbrook, equivalent to a population of around 4,000 people, but the Local Plan anticipates Cranbrook comprising approximately 7,850 new homes by 2031. This equates to a population of around 20,000 people meaning that Cranbrook will have quickly expanded to become the second largest town in the District.

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