Latest News - Exeter and East Devon Growth Point

Cranbrook's First Primary School Framework for the Future


One Small Step for School Children, One Giant Step for Cranbrook

The reality of life in the New Community of Cranbrook in East Devon took a giant step forward today (Friday 3 February 2012) as future pupils of the first primary school visited the site where their new school and the multi-purpose community building are being constructed.

At a ceremony held on the site of phase one of Cranbrook, off the old A30 near Rockbeare, funders, local councillors, developers, school children and members of the clergy gathered to formally visit the school and public buildings that will become the focal point of the new community at Cranbrook.

Children visiting site of new school CranbrookCllr Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council said: "This should be chalked up as a very special day for Cranbrook and the rest of East Devon. These new buildings are not merely bricks and mortar, but places that will be at the very heart of the new community. Places where our future citizens get together to learn and where their families and others meet to relax and socialise in the time-honoured fashion. It will be a modern, forward looking town with traditional values."

Early Infrastructure

From the outset, East Devon District Council has wanted the primary school and the community hub buildings to be constructed early in the development along with major improvements to public transport and road infrastructure.

It was always envisaged that these social and community facilities would be in place in the first neighbourhood centre by the time the first 150 homes were occupied, ensuring the development of a sense of belonging and place for the first residents from day one.   Andrw Mouling addressing school children

This has been made possible through £5m of forward funding from the South West RDA's Regional Infrastructure Fund and an investment of £1.5m from Growth Point Funding was made towards the construction of the multi-purpose building, both funds are now being managed by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Cranbrook's First Primary School

In September 2012, the children currently attending Clyst Honiton Primary School will start the new term in their brand new school and become pupils of St Martin's Church of England Primary School and Nursery, Cranbrook.

Today's visit gave 34 children between the ages of 4 and 11 the chance to imagine life learning in their new building which will feature a purpose built foundation stage unit, a forest school, superb grounds and innovative learning spaces. In the future St Martin's will have a capacity for 420 pupils ages 4/5 to 11 years, with an additional 30 places for nursery children.  In the school there will be 12 classes and a foundation stage unit with 3 inter-connected spaces providing greater adaptability and flexibility of use.

Cllr Christine Channon, Devon County Councillor for Portfolio Holder for Schools and Learning said: "Devon County Council strongly believes in the concept of local schools for local children. Too often in the past, developers have built houses without planners ensuring there is adequate infrastructure. At Cranbrook, everyone has worked hard to ensure that the town is self-sufficient from the start and that all the facilities and amenities to help to create a happy and viable community are present from the very beginning. I firmly believe that St Martin's will be ready to play a key role in the education of Cranbrook children from the moment it opens its doors in September."

The Head Teacher for Clyst Honiton Primary School, Tania Beard, who will be the new Head Teacher at St Martin's, said "The children have been so excited about actually getting to see where their classrooms will be. Our vision is that St Martin's will become the core of the community; drawing from and giving to the community that it serves.  Working with key partners and through innovative and creative partnerships we will provide a 0 - 90+ curriculum in which the whole community can contribute to and benefit from the many learning experiences that will be available. 

Our aim is to maximise on the incredible opportunity that we have been given so that our children and the children who come here in the future develop a love of learning coupled with a sense of curiosity and wonder." 

St Martin's will be the first of three new schools in Cranbrook and provide 2230m2 of teaching accommodation. The single-storey, steel frame building will feature brickwork and render façade, aluminum frame windows with a standing seam metal roof.   The school building will be constructed to a BREEAM 'Very Good' environmental performance rating.  The development will also include significant landscaping to create playground and car parking areas along with new pathways and retaining works to protect and enhance an existing copse and pond at the site.

Ian Knight, Head of Area for the Homes and Communities Agency said: "We have supported the vision of a new community at Cranbrook with a range of investments which have been used to deliver new homes, infrastructure and an energy centre at the site.

The new school now forms an additional and important strand of the HCA's work to help build a sustainable new community here, which is also being used to support the development of new road links in the local area. This investment is bringing new opportunities, facilities and homes to Cranbrook, ensuring that it will genuinely thrive as a vibrant new community." 

Cranbrook's First Public Building

Under construction just across the road from the school is Cranbrook's multi-purpose community building. As the focal point of the community until the main town centre is built, the multi-purpose building will be 820 square meters of flexible space, providing a location, for a range of services such as a doctor's surgery, town council offices, the Police, the community development worker, local voluntary organisations, Citizens Advice Bureau and other public bodies. 

As the development progresses and these services move into their own buildings the multi-purpose building can be easily reconfigured for different purposes, such as for sport, exercise, community meetings or a crèche, to enhance its function as a focus for the new residents.

The multi-purpose building will be contemporary by design with aspirations for high standards of construction, using sustainable construction materials.  By maximizing daylight and ventilation the building will have the potential to reach a BREEAM "excellent" rating, which is one of the highest performance ratings that can be achieved for measuring the environmental impact of non residential buildings.

John Rawlinson, Managing Director - South West at ISG, who are building the School and multi-purpose building, said: "Both new buildings benefit from the very latest innovations in sustainable design and will undoubtedly become a focal point for the new community at Cranbrook. In keeping with the sustainable ethos of the wider development and our own company values, wherever possible we are working with the local supply chain and regional trade professionals to help us deliver this important scheme."

Mike Owen, Project Manager, said on behalf of the New Community Partners (Hallam Land, Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey Homes), "We are delighted that the works to the first Primary School and the Multi-Purpose  Building are underway and on programme for opening during September 2012. To be in a position to provide these core items of infrastructure which will be at the very heart of the new community at such an early stage is testimony to the partnership that has been established between the key stakeholders. The support funding is not only enabling the early delivery but is also supporting local construction in providing much needed employment at this challenging time for the industry".

Exeter City Council Leader, Cllr Pete Edwards, said: "Seeing the first school and community building take shape at Cranbrook is testimony to what can be achieved when we all work in partnership. We are seeing the vision of a new community becoming a reality right on our doorstep, everyone involved should be very proud of what has been achieved so far."

Andy Wood, Projects Director of the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point added:
"Just six months ago we saw the start of work on Cranbrook, two weeks ago we marked the start of work on the Energy Centre and today we are seeing buildings going up that represent the heart of the new community itself. It is very exciting not least for the children who will be the first pupils of St Martin's but is also a significant milestone in helping to integrate the new and existing communities in the area."

Later in the Spring St Martin's Church of England Primary School and Nursery and the Multi-Purpose Building be getting neighbours in the form of Cranbrook's first show homes.




Notes to Editors:

To arrange further comment / interview: please contact the Growth Point Team Communications in the first instance:

Lesley Crocker (07545 419 360 / )

or Drew Aspinwall (07734 568923 )

Specific education / school enquiries: Devon County Council, David Hutchings 01392 382594

Specific construction enquiries: ISG, Nick Hann, (07970 275251)

Specific RIF funding enquiries: Home and Communities Agency. Ben Lowndes 07795 013 981 /

Exeter and East Devon New Growth Point

For more information about Exeter and East Devon:

St Martin's Church of England Primary School and Nursery:
One of the initiatives St Martin's will set up is called ‘learning families'; made up of groups of children aged from 4 to 11.  When a new child joins the school they will become part of a learning family which they will stay with throughout their time at our school to encourage safety and stability. Learning families will share playtimes, lunchtimes, collective worship and themed family learning days.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England.  Our vision is to create opportunity for people to live in homes they can afford in places they want to live, by enabling local authorities and communities to deliver the ambition they have for their own areas.

The HCA's role in the delivery of the Regional Infrastructure Funds forms part of a wider transfer of Regional Development Agency (RDA) land and property assets to the Agency, which completed on 19 September 2011. The HCA will manage these assets to deliver economic growth and regeneration for local communities. For more information, visit the HCA website