Latest News - Exeter and East Devon Growth Point

Cranbrook's Initial 1,120 Homes Move A Step Closer


First new town since Middle Ages will be an eco trail-blazer

DETAILED plans for the first phase of Cranbrook, East Devon's new community, have been filed with EDDC and for the first time it's possible to see how some of the new homes might look.

The plans for the first 1,120 homes on the approved site off Honiton Road, Rockbeare, have been validated and are now available to view on the Council's website *. The new community already has outline planning permission and a Section 106 agreement has been signed by all parties.

The current aim is to determine the application at a special meeting of EDDC's Development Management Committee on 8 March.

The massive planning file submitted by the New Community Partners includes a detailed Design Rationale document, which describes how the applicants' architects see the new buildings blending in with their East Devon setting.

Building heights, wall and roof materials, window and door types and even guttering and drain-pipe designs are included in the design document.

The full application is now available to view on EDDC's website *. A 21-day period of consultation starts this week. During this time, a combined parish meeting is to be held to look at detailed plans so that the joint parish councils can comment.

Permission is being sought for the 1,120 homes, plus areas of landscaping including the entrances into the site, the main square within Phase 1, the country park threshold, former A3 frontage and retained trees and hedgerows. The application also includes site layout, construction details, appearance and landscaping of the Main Local Route and the Parsons Lane Link road connecting to the former A30.


The vision for Cranbrook is to create a self-sufficient, low carbon new community close to skilled employment opportunities, encouraging people to use sustainable modes of transport and to reduce the need for them to travel between work and home by car.

EDDC wants to see Cranbrook built to the highest possible code for sustainable homes and by doing so to become a trail-blazer for low carbon mass open market housing developments.

The challenge for Cranbrook is to create an attractive and vibrant town, which combines the rich urban fabric of an historic Devon market town with the needs of a 21st century lifestyle; a town that responds to its setting and landscape and can be said to be "of Devon".

The development of a free-standing new settlement has not been attempted in Devon since the Middle Ages.

Devon towns have evolved organically over almost a millennium into successful service centres. Their rich fabric of buildings and infrastructure reflects the collective wealth of their social and political history, but they are also quintessentially Devonian. 

It has been an enormous challenge for the local authorities and developers of Cranbrook, to create a sustainable, vibrant and attractive new town from scratch.

EDDC Leader Sara Randall Johnson said: "We want Cranbrook to take its place in the natural hierarchy of Devon towns and to become a modern market town that has close functional links with the other developments in the growth area, such as Skypark and Exeter Science Park.

"A top priority is to ensure that the new community is sustainable, both in terms of reducing resource use and minimising carbon emissions.

"Our target is to deliver a high proportion of affordable housing across the whole development, assisted by funding from the Homes and Communities Agency, with an integrated mix of housing throughout the site. We also recognise the need for key social and community infrastructure to be available to the new residents as early in the development as possible".

Energy centre

New residents must have access to the kind of facilities that make up a vital community infrastructure. For this reason, one of the first buildings on site will be the multi-purpose building (MPB) which will serve many of these functions. 

Also with the support of the Homes and Communities Agency's Low Carbon Infrastructure Fund, the Growth Point, New Community Partners, E.ON and St.Modwen (one of the joint venture partners for Skypark), a Combined Heat and Power (CHP), District Heating Scheme has been designed.  A single energy centre will serve both Cranbrook and Skypark and could be powered by a biomass fuel.

This scheme would serve the whole community at Cranbrook and would mean reduced energy bills and hot water always available. It is estimated that the installation of biomass district heating and a CHP plant in the Growth Area to generate electricity and heat for the first 2,900 homes at Cranbrook, could provide an estimated 10,000 tonnes of CO2 saving a year.

If this can be achieved, it would make Cranbrook the first mass open market development in the country to provide a district heating scheme on this scale.

Thursday 13 January 2011

For more media information, please contact:

Nick Stephen, Communications Officer, on 01395 517559

East Devon District Council, Knowle, Sidmouth, Devon EX10 8HL