Latest News - Exeter and East Devon Growth Point

Green Light for Energy Centre


A unique partnership between Exeter and East Devon Growth Point, energy providers E.ON, Skypark joint venture partners and Cranbrook's developers, has enabled the completion of an energy supply agreement that will capture £4.1 million grant funding for a district heating network. 

The heating network will serve both the new community of Cranbrook and the £120 million Skypark development, significantly reducing CO2 emissions across both developments and helping them reach higher standards of sustainability.  This scheme could also make Cranbrook one of the first low carbon communities in the Uk to deliver Combined Heat and Power (CHP) to all residents.

A district heating network using renewable energy is one of the most efficient ways of delivering low carbon housing schemes such as Cranbrook in East Devon; however such schemes require significant capital investment at the outset. This cost has so far been out of reach for house builders.


A combination of £3.7 million grant funding from the Homes and Communities Agency's (HCA) Low Carbon Infrastructure Fund (announced last year) and further contributions of £400,000 from the local authority partners, together with significant investment from E.ON, St Modwen and Cranbrook's developers, has successfully bridged the funding gap enabling this scheme to go ahead.


Exeter and East Devon Growth Point Chairman and East Devon District Councillor Ray Franklin, explains why this scheme, which has been described as an exemplar large scale CHP, is so ground breaking:   "What we are actually doing is rewriting the blueprint for how developments are built and how energy can be supplied.  We will be one of the first, if not the first local authority in the country to build a mass open market development with district heating from day one." 


A biomass district heating scheme for the first 2900 homes at Cranbrook could provide an estimated, 10,000 tones of C02 savings a year and could set a precedent for all national house builder to follow. 


Cllr Franklin continued by saying "We will not only be reducing carbon emissions, but reducing energy bills for the people who are going to live and work in these buildings.  The potential benefits for the environment and for the residents are clear. It's such good news for the future residents of this area".

Further good news was received on Tuesday last week when East Devon District Council approved planning permission for the schemes energy centre which is to be built on the site of the Skypark development near Exeter Airport (subject to the signing of a section 106 agreement).

Ian Guy, Senior Development Manager for St Modwen, Skypark's joint venture partner and the UK's leading regeneration expert, was delighted to hear that the application has been approved he said:

"The energy centre facility fully supports our plans to make Skypark a sustainable employment hub to serve Exeter and Devon's economy, creating up to 6,500 jobs locally. We, and our development partners Devon County Council, believe we are taking an important lead in low carbon development which will become more and more important to business occupiers over the next few years."

The Energy Centre building will be innovative in its design and is set to achieve the highest standards of environmental ratings for buildings (BREEAM ‘Excellent' standard). 

E.ON, one of the UK's leading power and gas companies has made a commitment to the scheme which includes the £20 million Energy Centre providing heat and power to the residential and the commercial properties.

Michael Woodhead from E.ON's Sustainable Energy business said: "We're delighted to come on board and support this scheme. To be involved in delivering a highly efficient Combined Heat and Power district heating project in a major new community like this gives us a great sense of pride. Schemes like these help us reduce our carbon emissions and can help cut customer bills. This scheme is just one of a number that we are delivering across the UK and is part of our commitment to change the way energy is created and used in the UK.

This is a monumental step in the process of getting Cranbrook and Skypark off the ground.  With the planning permission in place and the funding in the bank, East Devon District Council also looks set to reach higher levels of sustainability at Cranbrook and therefore attract higher levels of investment form the HCA for affordable housing.

Devon County Councillor William Mumford, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Strategic Planning said:  "This pioneering development shows that balancing environmental needs with economic growth, is not just possible, it is commercially advantageous.  The Energy Centre is at the heart of this project, which will create new jobs, improve the knowledge base and strengthen the local economy. Devon County Council is proud to support the scheme and help local businesses benefit from this investment."


Communications Officer

Lesley Crocker, T: 01395 571744, M: 07545419360


Notes to editors

Exeter and East Devon New Growth Point

For more information about Exeter and East Devon:

New Growth Points

A New Growth Point is a Partnership initiative between the Government and local authorities wishing to pursue large scale sustainable growth.

Exeter and East Devon New Growth Point is a partnership commitment between Devon County Council, Exeter City Council, East Devon District Council, The South West Regional Development Agency, the Homes and Communities Agency and the Government to deliver sustainable economic growth.  Exeter and East Devon was recognised by the Government as a New Growth Point in 2006. 

Further information about New Growth Points and Partnership for Growth with the Government, can be found at:



Bre Environmental Assessment Method

For more information on BREEAM


St. Modwen Properties PLC

St. Modwen is the UK's leading regeneration specialist, operating across the full spectrum of the property industry through a network of seven regional offices including the South West/ South Wales operations and a Birmingham based head office. The company is wholly focused upon regeneration with expertise in town centre regeneration, partnering with industry, brownfield land renewal, Innovation Centres and education projects. 

St. Modwen South West

St. Modwen's South West/ South Wales operations are run from an office in Avonmouth, Bristol. Here the regional team works across the company's vast regeneration project portfolio that comprises a total of 15 million sq ft of commercial accommodation and circa 11,600 homes across both regions.

In the South West, St. Modwen's property portfolio comprises 13 development regeneration projects based across Gloucestershire, Somerset, Avon and Devon. Collectively, St. Modwen manages 800 acres (circa 580 acres net developable land) across the region on which it will build over 7 million sq ft of commercial accommodation and create circa 3,600 homes.  The company's major projects in the South West region include the £270 million regeneration of Firepool in Taunton and the £210 million Skypark development in Exeter.

For further information, visit

South West region:

Access 18, Avonmouth

Castledown Business Park, Ludgershall


Firepool, Taunton