Did Claire Wright have a crystal ball when speaking about Cranbrook and the ‘Growth Point’ in 2012?

Here are a few comments she made at that time when she and other councillors visited the Growth Point on 11 May 2012l:

“I asked how many companies had bought space at Skypark.

Answer: None.

And Skypark has been marketed for well over a year.

I remembered the stark warning given by consultants, Roger Tym, who state on page 75 of their Housing and Employment Study 2011, that marketing for a 1.4m sq ft scheme at Langage Business Park in Plymouth has progressed over the last five years without success of obtaining a single occupier.

It is the challenge of dealing with large strategic allocations, they say.

Hopefully, Skypark will achieve full occupation in time. But it does rather put the challenge of filling the many and large industrial allocations for the rest of East Devon, into perspective.

If Skypark, in a hugely convenient location is not proving a goer (so far), what hope is there for almost 50 acres of industrial land allocated for Honiton?”

Recall that Asda pulled out of Heathpark and now EDDC is plugging the gap by moving there itself at enormous cost. Skypark is still mostly empty with its owners having gone on record to say it could take many, many years to rent it all out.

And, having just returned from a visit to Cranbrook on the same day, she wrote:

When I got home I couldn’t help wondering whether:

– the Skypark would ever get off the ground, or instead would mirror the non-progress of Langage Business Park in Plymouth

– the Science Park would ever consist of any more than Exeter University’s Innovation Centre

– If the inhabitants of Rockbeare would be swallowed up by Cranbrook, following a highly dubious decision, backed by the majority of the Local Plan Panel (not me) and Development Management Committee, to allocate south of the A30 for future expansion, despite a promise that this would not happen

– the public would ever consider the millions of pounds of public money ploughed into ‘growth point’ and Cranbrook, as money well spent.

– What sort of town Cranbrook would become. How big would it grow? Would I enjoy visiting it?

I have no answers to these questions yet. No one does. Only time will tell.

I have to say I am already rather tired of the pictures in local papers of grinning councillor and developer faces at turf cuts, of the continual talk of ‘great excitement’ and the oft heard promises of thousands of jobs and creation of wealth, none of which has materialised yet… and may not ever do so.

That said, I genuinely hope that ‘growth point’ and Cranbrook are huge successes.

Mainly because any other outcome would be a staggering waste of public funding, not to mention an irreplaceable loss of beautiful countryside.”


One thought on “Did Claire Wright have a crystal ball when speaking about Cranbrook and the ‘Growth Point’ in 2012?

  1. I think it is great credit to Claire that she isn’t wandering around shouting “I told you so” from the rooftops. Claire was one voice among many who could see the futility of EDDC’s development plans. I fear the worst that the Sky Park and the Science Park will both be another spectacular waste of public money. I’m with Claire…sick of seeing out of touch Councillors beaming at another self promoting photo opportunity, created by the local media outlets, fawning over local authorities and their potential advertising revenues. Why wont the local papers challenge holders of public office, take on the developers and give potential readers a reason to buy their titles…maybe then they would see their readership figures stop tumbling as they become meaningful products again.


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