Devon residents have been left fearful of the impact that a ‘second Cranbrook’ to be built on the edge of Exeter could have. The new town is included in the draft version of the new East Devon Local Plan.
Mary Stenson www.devonlive.com
With an exact location yet to be agreed, it is likely that it will be situated on the western side of East Devon close to the border with Exeter. The town’s boundary will be agreed by November 1, councillors on Friday were told.
Having been dubbed a ‘second Cranbrook’, some fear of the impact a new town with further housing could have on services and the environment in East Devon. Concerns have been raised about whether there is the infrastructure to cope with the influx of homes.
The plan suggests the new town is a long-term project, with new homes unlikely to be completed until around 2030 and anticipates that the overall development of the town could run beyond 2050. Other parts of the district were also highlighted in the Local Plan as areas that could see further housing.
The draft Local Plan policy says that they will require on-site social and community facilities in line with needs specifically generated by the development. It adds: “Development will need to occur and proceed on an agreed phased basis.
“The town will be built to distinctive high quality design standards with an explicit focus on sustainable construction and building operation and renewable energy production and use. Open spaces and facilities will be readily accessible to all residents with convenient and attractive pedestrian and cycle links to local destinations and access to high quality public transport services.”
The draft plan continues: “Infrastructure provision will need to come forward with overall development proposals. It will accommodate a full range of social, leisure, health, community and education facilities (including new schools) to meet the needs of all age groups that will live in the new town.
“Employment shall be made throughout the town to provide a range of business spaces suitable for the needs of businesses as they develop and grow and to accommodate a range of employment opportunities for residents of the new town and surrounding areas.
“A town centre will provide a focal point for retail, business and leisure activities and will be designed to create a vibrant day and night-time economy and this will be complemented by a series of smaller neighbourhood centres.”
But with work on Cranbrook’s town centre only beginning now, ten years after houses started to spring up, and people moved into the new town, there is scepticism from locals that the infrastructure would come alongside the housing. And while the concept of a second ‘new town’ for East Devon is not new, reaction to the proposals has been mixed at best.
For many, their most pressing concern was the need for additional services to cope with an increase in population in the area, including one person who asked: “Have they included health centre and GP practice in their proposals? Services are already at breaking point due to demand”.
One person agreed, adding that local services should be prioritised over housing, saying: “No mention of hospital or other amenities & improved infrastructure. They should be first followed by houses.”
Others suggested the need for other local resources to be developed to allow for increased demand, proposing: “Perhaps somewhere a new reservoir should be built as well”. Another said “Yet still no more recycling centres to cope with additional waste”.
The impact on the environment and local landscape was another point of discussion in response to the new development. Some feared that building new homes was “Destroying the Devon countryside one field at a time.”
Another disgruntled commenter agreed, explaining: “Building on prime farmland in an era when global food shortages are on the horizon, so we’ve been told. Pure genius. Well done. Take a bow.”
Some questioned the need for more housing after the development of Cranbrook in recent years. One said: “Haha finish Cranbrook before starting another project. I’d like to know where are these 8000 families coming from to fill the homes once built? They must have homes already”.
However, not everyone was unhappy with the plans, including one person who celebrated the news, saying: “Good… progress at last”.
Last week, a draft version of the new Local Plan for East Devon revealed hopes for another housing development, forming the basis of a new town. The full draft version of the East Devon Local Plan is set to be debated on November 1, before public consultation begins.
This Second Proposed Town in the West Part of East Devon is NOT Needed , because the Demand from Local People for all these Houses is NOT their. The Problem is People want to leave the Big Cities and Town in Droves and is this putting unneccesary pressure on Rural areas to Build Homes not wanted by Local People.