Plans for one of the proposed expansion areas to Cranbrook are being recommended for approval. East Devon District Council planners are set to give the go-ahead for more than 1,000 homes to be built on land to the north of Treasbeare Farm, and south of the old A30.
Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com
As part of the Cranbrook Plan, 62 hectares of land at the Treasbeare Expansion Area is allocated for a mixed use development. Housing, community facilities, a neighbourhood centre, a school, a sports hub and employment land are all set to be built.
Those plans are now set to take a step closer to coming to fruition when councillors on Tuesday, February 28, will discuss them. And councillors are recommended by officers to approve the massive outline scheme for the growing East Devon town.
The scheme asks for outline planning permission for up to 1,035 residential dwellings – 120 more than is allocated in the development plan. There would also be a neighbourhood centre with retail units, including the possibility of takeaways, betting shops and a bar.
A two form entry primary school, of up to 420 places, with early years provision, is also planned. As is public open space, allotments, amenity open space and SANGS land.
There would be a sports hub comprising playing pitches, tennis courts, a multi-use path and a pavilion, as well as up to 10.26ha of employment land. Five serviced pitches for gypsies and travellers are also included, with principal access is to be provided from four points off London Road (B3174), with additional access points proposed for pedestrians and cyclists.
Treasbeare expansion area of Cranbrook masterplan
The report of planning officers says: “In essence the scheme which sits between Cranbrook and the old A30 to the north, and the airport to the south, proposes to locate employment land to the west, where it sits in close association within the Skypark and airport development, housing in the central and northern areas including those set to the north east of Parsons Lane, a gypsy and traveller site for 5 pitches (again to the north east), a sports hub and school towards the eastern ridge, and SANGS along the Ford Stream corridor and the eastern slopes of the site.
“The minor incursions where the proposed development steps outside of the built up area boundary are not considered to harm the character of the area or lead to any risk of settlement coalescence with the neighbouring village of Rockbeare.
“The delivery of the neighbourhood centre and key components of the sports hub including an artificial grass pitch are beneficial. While seeking some flexibility from the terms of the policy (but backed up with good evidence) the provision of these important community assets help with the sustainability credentials of the scheme
“The most balanced issue within the scheme has been the location of the proposed school – not so much as a result of the visual impacts although it is more prominent than would ideally be the case, but because it is proposed to be located towards the east of the site. This location means that walking distances from the proposed housing in the east and particularly development in Bluehayes would be in excess of the recommended walking distances advocated by Policy. Although this impact is partly offset by the provision of direct links, it is still a negative which must be weighed against specifically the delivery of a school, and more generally the other aspects of the proposal when considered as a whole.”
The report adds: “It is recognised that the layout of the scheme has resulted in minor incursions across the built up area boundary afforded to the Treasbeare expansion area, although these are not considered to cause harm. The location of the school is suboptimal and would result in greater walking distances than would be the case if it was located elsewhere within Treasbeare.
“However the delivery of the school within this expansion area nonetheless has merit, as it is a compatible use with the sports hub and spreads infrastructure either side of the London Road. As part of the proposed sports hub, the application provides a mechanism for the delivery of a full sized, flood lit AGP which was otherwise only partially funded. The scheme also proposes up to 1035 dwellings (of which 155 would affordable) which is of benefit to the Council’s 5 year housing land supply, employment land in excess of the policy requirement and a neighbourhood centre.
“Taken together it is considered that the public benefit that is derived from the scheme as a whole, outweighs the less than substantial harm to the heritage assets. Overall the proposal is considered to broadly accord with the Development Plan but where the proposal steps outside of this, other material considerations are in support, such that the proposal is acceptable.”
The Treasbeare expansion area will comprise a mix of housing, education, community, sport, employment and commercial uses (together with safeguarded land for the energy centre) that importantly will provide a key location for activity in the town and act as a hub for education and sporting facilities in this area. The sports hub in Treasbeare will be the main hub in Cranbrook and provide a wider range of facilities than at the Ingrams Sports hub further to the east.
The four expansion areas of Cranbrook
The expansion area is one of four planned for Cranbrook. Bluehayes (for around 960 homes), Cobdens (around 1495 homes) and Grange (around 800 homes) are set to come forward at a later date.
Since construction on the town on the edge of Exeter began back in 2011, around 6,000 people now call Cranbrook their home. Work after ten long years has finally begun in the town centre in recent weeks.
East Devon District Council’s planning committee, when they meet on February 28, are recommended to approve the scheme. The Cranbrook Plan, which sets out policies and allocations, to provide the supporting facilities that a sustainable new town needs, which the new neighbourhood scheme aims to correspond with, has already been adopted.