“Cranbrook town council voted on Monday night to object to plans for the southern expansion of the new town. Two new applications for the southern expansion of Cranbrook have been submitted to East Devon District Council for the outline planning permission for 27.2 hectares of residential development, 9.2 hectares of employment development, a new primary school, a local community centre, and sport pitches and tennis courts as part of a sports hub.
The plans includes 1,200 new homes, a new primary school, a sports hub, a petrol station, and a site for travellers and were a revision of plans that had been outlined in 2015 but had been deferred while the Cranbrook Development Plan Document was being finalised.
The revised plans would see a reduction of 350 homes, a reduction in employment space by 5,000 square meters to 35,000 square meters, enhanced sports and play areas with all-weather facilities, floodlighting, changing facilities and children’s play, community uses as well as the possibility of gypsy and traveller pitches as an alternative to employment land.
But concerns by the council’s planning committee were raised about the fact that the proposals added land for housing on the eastern edge of the original proposals between Parsons Lane and the Country Park boundary immediately opposite the existing homes in Post Coach Way which front the B3174, and they requested further clarification on the gypsy and/or traveller allocation being provided.
The committee said: “Broadly the planning proposals being considered are in line with East Devon District Council’s Local Plan 2013-2031, which precludes development within the Neighbourhood Plan areas of the surrounding villages. By reducing the application to 1,200 homes, the proposals maintain an acceptable density per hectare and respect the Neighbourhood Plan areas of the two immediate parish neighbours.
“The Committee considered that density of 45 dwellings per hectare as acceptable and reiterated that parking issues associated with that level of density were well recorded.
“The Committee felt that the applications ignored previous pledges about the green wedge contained within East Devon District Council’s Local Plan 2013-2031. Councillors were anxious to preserve the green wedge between Cranbrook and Rockbeare and considered the proposed wedge too narrow.
The proposal added land for housing on the eastern edge of the original proposals between Parsons Lane and the Country Park boundary immediately opposite the existing homes in Post Coach Way which front the B3174 which may raise concerns about visual impact from the village of Rockbeare.
“The inclusion of the “gypsy and traveller pitches” required clarification.The Town Council always maintained a position that it is acceptable for Cranbrook to accommodate a proportionate and reasonable number of pitches particularly to provide permanent homes for gypsy and/or traveller families and this provision should be within the allocation of affordable homes within the scheme.
“The indicative site was, however, shown as an alternative to employment land and had close proximity to the airport. This site was not suitable for settled gypsy or traveller families to be located because of its proximity to the airport and the Committee felt that a possible transition site should be located nearer the main arterial routes and the M5 and not in a residential area
“The Committee also reiterated that there was a need to separate between sites for each group and, traditionally both genuine gypsy and genuine traveller families were not usually content to share sites with new age or caravan travellers.”
They resolved to object to the planning applications.
Since the build of the new town in East Devon began in 2010, 3,500 homes, a railway station, St Martin’s Primary School, play facilities, the neighbourhood centre, local shops, the education campus, the Cranbrook Farm pub, while construction of buildings in the town centre and the sports pitches are underway, while plans for the ecology park in the town have also been submitted.
The application for the southern expansion for Cranbrook would see the town get an additional 1,200 homes, but also a petrol station, a residential care home, employment land, a new primary school, and an all-weather sports facility.”