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Cranbrook’s Community Spirit Tops the Polls Again

85% of residents would recommend Cranbrook as place to live in 3rd annual community poll

The annual survey results reveal that East Devon’s new community of Cranbrook has continued to remain happy overall during the past 12 months. 

Results from the third survey of this kind show that community spirit and friendly people continues to make Cranbrook special.

During the autumn residents responded to questions in the Cranbrook Community Questionnaire, developed by East Devon District Council (EDDC) and East Devon Volunteer Support Agency (EDVSA) across seven sections entitled: ‘your community’; ‘health and wellbeing’; ‘information and services’; ‘outdoor activity’ ‘travel’; ‘about you’ and new questions regarding Cranbrook’s recently formed Town Council.

The survey has been carried out at the same time for the past three years and provides valuable insight into Cranbrook as it grows.

The headline results show that 88% of respondents feel Cranbrook is a good place to live and 87% get on well with the people they meet. The survey also provides an update where the residents of Cranbrook have moved from, with 83% of respondents moving from within the county of Devon.

Some results have fallen - in particular whether people feel part of the community, whether they regularly speak to people in the local area and satisfaction levels with the internet provider. More people also want to be able to recycle cardboard and mixed plastics from the kerbside, which EDDC are looking to introduce in the near future.

A large proportion of Cranbrook households are families with parents aged under 40 with young children. Topping residents wish lists now are a leisure centre, a pub, a swimming pool, a gym and more for young people to do.

Key Facilities

With over 1,300 homes now occupied, during 2015 many of the key facilities have now been delivered including play areas, the first secondary school and second primary school, the first shops and the train station all opened last year. There have also been a number of changes in key personnel working in the community and the formation of the Cranbrook Town Council in May 2015.

What Happens Next?

The full results (all anonymous) will be shared with all the organisations involved in Cranbrook, including the developers, the Town Council and service providers. They will be encouraged to use these results and take action where required. Residents that filled in the surveys had the option of signing up to get information about what is happening with the results.    

Keith Johnson, Cranbrook’s Community Development Worker said: “This year was always going to be interesting as town and the population are rapidly growing and so the expectations are changing. The strong community spirit continues with residents making things happen, but we all know there are areas where we need to develop new facilities in line with various needs, particularly for the young people of the town and this information helps us gather the evidence to support our work.

70% of respondents felt well informed about what’s going on in the community, which although still high, is a drop of 16% from last year. With my being new to the role at the time and the Minister for Cranbrook moving on, this result is not really surprising.”  

Getting Out and About

The outdoor activity section revealed that 84% of residents spent an hour or more a week walking now, with 94% estimating that they will spend over an hour a week after further improvements are made.

22% of residents spend over an hour a week cycling now, 71% estimate they will spend over an hour cycling a week after the improvements.

Making History Everyday

Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council said: “Each year I find the results of the Cranbrook survey absolutely fascinating; so much happens in a 12 months period that it is unlike anywhere else in the country.

Last year, residents were looking forward to plays areas, a shop and the train station, now with those milestones met and being really well used, we see aspirations for a leisure centre, a pub, a swimming pool, a gym and more for young people to do as residents’ priorities.

Plans are in place for a pub now and we have lots of work to do on how Cranbrook’s future phases develop and we will be asking residents to get fully engaged in plans to shape their town. 

We make history every day Cranbrook which is growing year by year into a caring and friendly town. I’m proud of the continued outstanding progress being made in both providing new homes and economic growth and we look forward to the next 12 months.”

A summary of the full results are available online at:

Kevin Blakey, Chairman of Cranbrook Town Council said: “It is good to see that the responses given by those residents who took part are generally positive, and reinforce the affirmative opinions we hear from most of the people we talk to.  

Cranbrook is less than four years old, and during this period the growth of the town has been dramatic. Around 3,000 people now call Cranbrook “home”, and we will be joined by as many again in the next three years, so it’s important that everybody feels a part of our developing community.

Cranbrook Town Council was formed in May 2015 to represent the community on the wide range of matters that affect everyone in this unique new town. It is clear from the responses to the questionnaire that a significant number feel they would like to be better informed of current affairs in Cranbrook.  

To that end, the Town Council has a website, Facebook page and we write features for the local media. We have a dedicated notice board outside the Younghayes Centre and planning documents are displayed inside the building.  

We will shortly be moving into a ground floor office in the Younghayes Centre (formerly the pharmacy) so people can make personal visits and, of course, we would welcome public participation at the Town Council meetings.”

Team Work

The survey is collaboratively designed and developed by East Devon District Council (EDDC); EDVSA; the Growth Point Team and most recently with additional input from Cranbrook Town Council. EDDC donated time and resources to analyse the results using specialist software and paid for the printing, return envelopes, postage and additional officer time.

Some questionnaires were sent out in the post and the rest were distributed door-to-door by the Community Development Worker, East Devon officers and some volunteers. 213 copies of the questionnaire were returned.

Issued: 10 February 2016