Cranbrook town centre work starts

Spade comes to sod, at last

The decade delay is a result of “leaving it to the market”, unravelled by the “New Guard” at EDDC – Owl

Paul Nero

The giant red starfish will be replaced by a town centre (image courtesy: EDDC)

When residents began moving into their spanking new homes in the new town of Cranbrook in East Devon, they didn’t think it would be more than a decade before work began on a town centre.

But a field a quarter of a mile from the main school has been redundant ever since. 

Now, after a series of false dawns, construction will finally begin this work.

East Devon District Council is puffing it up as a “major milestone” although the leader, who wasn’t in place when the tortuous journey began, does make a nod towards the delay.

Cllr Paul Arnott, who is portfolio holder for strategic development and chair of Cranbrook Strategic Delivery Board said: “The people of Cranbrook have been incredibly patient and we’re delighted to learn that the town centre will actually start to become a reality.

The latest plan from East Devon District Council

A consortium of developers, Henry Davidson, Hallam Land Management, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon will now get cracking on a supermarket, and a children’s day nursery, which will open next year, and high street shops with homes above and a town square that should be ready in 2024.

Separately, East Devon District Council is in the process of acquiring four acres of land so the town centre can accommodate community facilities  such as a health and wellbeing hub (including a GP surgery) and leisure centre.  Devon County Council is also continuing to work on its new community building combining a library, children and youth centres. 

Further aspects of the town centre will include a new town hall, extra care housing and a skate park.  

Cllrs Kevin Blakey, Kim Bloxham and Sam Hawkins, East Devon District Council ward members representing Cranbrook, said: “The three Cranbrook ward members are naturally delighted that the construction work on the town centre is getting under way.

“As we have said previously, a great many people have worked long and hard to draw together all the many threads to the legal agreements that are now complete, and our thanks go to them all. We can now look forward to the land being a hive of activity as the physical creation of our much anticipated town centre takes shape. This is a big moment in the story of Cranbrook!”

This previous plan has been updated