10. Preferred Approach consultation feedback to the Cranbrook Plan
Following the end of the Cranbrook Plan: Preferred Approach consultation in January 2018 a feedback report being presented to the Council’s Strategic Planning Committee on 20 March 2018. The feedback report highlighted the major points and issues arising from the consultation and actions being taken to address them. A wide range of issues were raised, including technical concerns about transport issues, such as problems providing vehicle access to some parts of the proposed expansion areas and how rail services can be improved to deliver a half hourly service into Exeter.
It was also noted that some additional land had been put forward by landowners for development through the consultation and this now had to be considered for inclusion in the plan.
Concerns about the location and extent of development to the south of the London Road, particularly where this intrudes into Rockbeare parish and the Green wedge that was designated to prevent settlement coalescence (joining up) between Cranbrook and the village.
The community at Rockbeare raised strong concerns with these proposals, which also conflict with the emerging Rockbeare Neighbourhood Plan has been prepared and submitted to East Devon District Council. The Rockbeare Neighbourhood Plan was out to consultation until 16 March 2018. Members were advised that the proposed Grange development was important for bringing the London Road into the town, as well as for creating a sense of place along the road as an entrance to Cranbrook.
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. Members noted however that the DPD would form part of the Local Plan and could ultimately overrule the Neighbourhood Plan.
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. Concerns about transit pitches being provided were also acknowledged and the report proposed to only allocate permanent pitches. This approach was also supported in feedback from the Gypsy and Traveller community.
The report 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. This may include larger family homes, bungalows and housing for older people, as well as providing opportunities for self-build and custom build housing.
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. It is however important that the town has everything it needs to function like any other town.
Members acknowledged that there was still a lot of work to be done and that a consultation on the plan itself would probably not now take place until the autumn. However, work continues with the developer consortium to progress the already consented parts of the town, including development of the town centre.
Links to the Strategic Planning Committee agenda and minutes can be found below:
A 50 signature petition was submitted to East Devon District Council at the 20 March 2018 meeting of Strategic Planning Committee. The petition relates to an area of land included for development within the Cranbrook Plan: Preferred Approach consultation. A copy of the petition can be viewed below. As with many of the representations submitted during the Cranbrook Plan: Preferred Approach consultation, names, addresses and signatures of those who have signed the petition have been redacted.