Latest News - Exeter and East Devon Growth Point

New Energy Centre Gains the Green Light


The planned Energy Centre at the Skypark Development near Exeter Airport was issued with full planning permission this week, marking an important milestone for the region as it moves closer to operating as a low carbon economy.

Permission for an Energy Centre as part of a combined Heat and Power District Heating Scheme for both Skypark and the new community of Cranbrook was granted in April this year, subject to a section 106 legal agreement.

This week East Devon District Council together with Skypark's joint venture partners, St Modwen the UK's leading regenerations specialist and Devon County Council, have completed the section 106 legal agreement for the Energy Centre and the full planning permission has now been issued.

Skypark is being developed into an exemplar low carbon business park with a combined heat and power district heating plant on site. 

Cllr Ray Franklin, East Devon District Council's portfolio holder for planning and regeneration and the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point Chairman commended the efforts of those involved:

"I am incredibly proud of everyone who has worked on this scheme, together we identified the opportunity for reducing carbon emissions and increasing sustainability by bringing these major developments under one energy scheme and we have been pushing the boundaries of current development models to make it happen. 

As a planning authority we are also thrilled to be that bit closer to the delivery of Skypark and the prospect of thousands of new jobs coming into the District. We have been working closely with Skypark's joint venture partners and I can say with confidence that this development promises the highest standards of design and sustainability and a wide variety of skilled employment opportunities."

The Energy Centre although located on the Skypark development will supply the district heating network at Cranbrook, reducing Co2 emissions across both developments and enabling them to reach higher levels of sustainability

Ian Guy, Senior Development Manager for St. Modwen said: "The completion of the Section 106 Agreement is an important milestone for the developments East of Exeter. The Energy Centre is an additional draw for innovative and sustainable businesses when looking at Skypark. Our vision is to see Skypark leading the way in sustainable development and envisage the development playing a major role in strengthening the region as a low carbon economy." 

As joint venture partners in Skypark, Devon County Council were also delighted to hear that the Energy Centre now has full planning permission.  Devon County Councillor William Mumford, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Strategic Planning, added: "We are determined that Devon's economy will emerge stronger from the recession and Skypark is a key element of that. Not only will Skypark provide the cornerstone for future economic growth in the area, creating thousands of new jobs, but it can also become a leading example of a low carbon development."

Tony Norton, head of low-carbon development at Regen SW, which has provided key technical and commercial advice on the energy solution, said: "No other scheme in the country has seen district heating and biomass combined-heat-and-power on such a large scale before.  The Cranbrook energy centre is a trailblazer for zero-carbon developments of the future throughout the UK.

"More importantly, it has taught the sustainable energy industry important lessons that we can share with other similar schemes. We now understand the drivers for site-wide sustainable energy solutions, how to best establish energy service companies (ESCos), and what it takes to successfully connect all elements of the sustainable fuel supply-chain in large-scale developments."

The Cranbrook New Community Partners, Hallam Land, Persimmon Homes, Redrow Homes and Taylor Wimpey Homes see the granting of the Energy Centre planning permission as another significant milestone on the route to the delivery of the new 2,900 homes at Cranbook. Nick Duckworth of Hallam Land said "We are delighted with this excellent news. Not only does it bring forward the commencement of development but also underscores the delivery of the CHP element of the scheme and the sustainable credentials of the Cranbrook development as a whole".

Simon Perks, Managing Director of Persimmon Homes, added "We have been working closely with our wider development partners, E.ON and the Skypark Consortium, for the last year to secure CHP within Cranbrook. It is very good news indeed that we have secured the planning permission for the Energy Centre. We look forward to commencement of the Cranbrook development in the near future and to the delivery of the first of the new homes that will benefit from the direct supply of heat energy for their hot water and central heating systems."

E.ON, one of the UK's leading power and gas companies has also made a commitment to the scheme which includes the £20 million Energy Centre. After the decision notice was issued Michael Woodhead from E.ON's Sustainable Energy business said: "We're delighted to be one step closer to delivering sustainable heat and power to Cranbrook. Schemes such as these illustrate the potential of sustainable energy in helping reduce carbon emissions whilst cutting customer bills. We believe developments such as the Skypark show how we will live and work going forward."