Photo credit: Still Imaging

Council invites residents to help shape Cranbrook by becoming involved in town's masterplan

A huge amount has been achieved since work began at Cranbrook in June 2011. The first residents collected their keys in summer 2012 and St Martin’s C of E Primary School opened its doors shortly after - all when there were less than 50 homes occupied.

A half hourly bus service and the multi-purpose Younghayes Community Centre followed, along with a children’s play area, open space in the country park and connections made to already improved cycle and walking routes.

A pharmacy and doctors surgery are now open for the community to use and in summer 2015, opposite the Younghayes Centre, there will be seven new shops, including a supermarket open for the community to use.

Cranbrook's railway station is nearing completion and in September 2015 the Cranbrook Education Campus will open its doors to primary and secondary school children for the first time.

Community spirit is strong in this new town, which boasts a wide selection of activities and groups set up in many cases by the residents themselves. Cranbrook held its first elections in May and it now has its own Town Council to serve its estimated current population of around 2,500 people living in just over 1,000 homes.

So, what next?

Getting Cranbrook from an idea to reality took time and planning - over 15 years in fact - and what has been achieved so far is just the start. With Younghayes (first phase of Cranbrook) nearing completion, attention is turning to what comes next and what is required to make Cranbrook as successful as possible. Critically, there is now the opportunity for the residents of Cranbrook themselves to help shape how it grows and develops.  So what do people want from a town that is expected to have a population of around 20,000 people?

East Devon District Council is now leading a process of planning the next chapter in Cranbrook’s history. Previously, some assumptions had to be made as to what would work best when creating a new town from scratch.  This time round the council will have the advantage of being able find out what resident’s themselves want.

Over the past two years, the community have taken part in two rounds of residents' surveys, which has established some of the needs and priorities and how they are changing, as well as questionnaires and workshops on business and the economy. There have also been many informal ways in which issues have been highlighted, as organisations have been created and reformed according to the needs of the community.

Working towards a masterplan

This research is now helping to feed into a developing a ‘masterplan’ for Cranbrook, which goes beyond the facilities that have already been planned or are on their way to being finished.  The masterplan looks ahead to a place where people are not only residing, but also working, shopping, creating, socialising and helping to shape the town.

By establishing a masterplan, East Devon District Council will be able to assess ideas put forward by developers and house builders and decide if those proposals will create the sort of Cranbrook that residents wish to live in and which future residents will love even more.

East Devon is going to be bringing together a wide range of people to agree a set of principals to guide the masterplan, taking on board residents' opinions and adding in what has been learnt along the way, all the time asking ‘what can we do better?’

Get involved

East Devon is now starting to invite people to get involved in the evolving masterplan and is inviting people to help shape Cranbrook. 

The responses received by East Devon will help determine the future of Cranbrook in two ways:

1) In the preparation of a Cranbrook Development Plan Document (DPD) - a formal planning policy document to explicitly guide and regulate development (notice of this consultation is given under Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning Regulations 2012).

2) Feed into wider work being undertaken by specialist consultants on our behalf to develop a ‘Cranbrook Plan’ – this will provide a framework for the future expansion of the new town, and will be compliant with the policies of the emerging new district-wide East Devon Local Plan.

East Devon is particularly interested to know what alternative or additional issues should be addressed that are currently not listed in the Cranbrook DPD and what factors people consider should be taken into account in the overall plan.

You can find out more about the Cranbrook DPD by viewing the Development Management Committee papers from the 16 June 2015 online.

Comments are invited by emailing localplan@eastdevon.gov.uk and putting ‘Cranbrook DPD’ in the subject box or by post to:

Planning Policy Section,
East Devon District Council,
Knowle, Sidmouth,
EX10 8HL

Comments should arrive on or before Friday 7 August 2015. After which a draft publication will be made publically available for formal comment and any comments received will be submitted, along with the DPD, and supporting evidence to the Planning Inspectorate for formal examination.