Inspector recognises importance of further development at Cranbrook

PUBLISHED: 16:07 19 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:33 19 January 2016

Cranbrook from the air. Photo by Chris Mills.

Cranbrook from the air. Photo by Chris Mills.


In his final report on the East Devon Local Plan, published on Monday (January 18), Anthony Thickett said the contribution that Cranbrook will make towards meeting the revised housing target of 17,100 new homes over the 18 year plan is ‘significant’.

The Government Planning Inspector has acknowledged the importance of Cranbrook in the provision of new houses and jobs in East Devon.

In his final report on the East Devon Local Plan, which was published on Monday (January 18), Anthony Thickett said the contribution that Cranbrook will make towards meeting the revised housing target of 17,100 new homes over the 18 year plan (950 dwellings per year from 2013-2031) is ‘significant’.

He added that it will provide an ‘opportunity for a sustainable settlement’ combining housing, employment, schools, shops, green spaces and other facilities.

Already around 1,200 new homes have been completed in Cranbrook and over the next five years - assuming these delivery rates continue - it will deliver up to 40 per cent of the five year land supply, which the Mr Thickett believes is achievable.

The job growth agenda for the district generates this need for ensuring that there is sufficient new housing to meet the requirements of a projected increasing workforce.

Mr Thickett said he clearly recognises the importance of Cranbrook and the logic for further development at the new town.

Factors that will need to be taken into account and to be aware of include ensuring housing delivery (including 25 per cent affordable housing), impacts on non-delivery, overall scale of the development and links to the Cranbrook Plan.

The Cranbrook Plan will be also become a Development Plan Document (DPD), which is currently in production and designed to help deliver targets.

An issues and options document that is proposed for public consultation is scheduled to be presented to members in the Spring of 2016.

In his final report, Mr Thickett noted the need for a further 37 gypsy and traveller pitches up to 2034 in East Devon, as well as three for travelling showpeople.

This includes a need for 22 pitches to be provided between 2014 and 2019. He also endorsed the principle of up to 30 pitches being provided at Cranbrook.

He pointed out that there is nothing in the modified policy to suggest that all 30 pitches be in the same place, and stated that he did not see any reason why the sites cannot be developed in a satisfactorily integrated way with other planned development in Cranbrook.

He has also emphasised the importance of work on the DPD.

The latest phase of the gypsy DPD – a formal call for more sites – was concluded at the end of 2015.

Work now needs to be carried out to evaluate the sites that have come forward, and East Devon District Council (EDDC) will also be examining the potential to expand existing sites, with recommendations for future allocations and public consultation to be made over the coming months.

EDDC says it intends to stay true to its word and will develop a gypsy and traveller site strategy for East Devon as a whole, but which will include some provision at Cranbrook.

The full scale of provision at Cranbook will not, however, be known until the council has had to the opportunity to evaluate all the options.

Councillor Paul Diviani, leader of EDDC, said: “The inspector has confirmed that he is happy with the strategy for Cranbrook and the scale of employment and housing uses proposed, as well as the proposed Gypsy and Traveller provision.

“This is a significant moment for this emerging new town and will enable us to help maintain the incredible energy and momentum that is already keeping this landmark community at the forefront of development.

“The Cranbrook masterplan, which is currently in production, will put some meat on the bones of these policies and will provide a strong vision and guide to future development at Cranbrook to ensure that it becomes an attractive, vibrant and sustainable modern town.”

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