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Proposals for a ‘second Cranbrook’: mixed reaction

  • by J.W.

“Finish Cranbrook before starting another project.”

Scepticism from locals that the infrastructure would come alongside the housing.

PLUS: Planning application submitted for a garden village of more than 1,000 homes.


It has taken over a decade to get a town centre for Cranbrook new town:

Cranbrook, Devon – Wikimedia Commons

Cranbrook: the town without a town centre – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The District Council has at last “broken the deadlock over the future of a new town centre in Cranbrook”, with an announcement made last week:

4 October 2022 – Construction works commences for new Cranbrook town centre – East Devon

Cranbrook’s town centre is no longer ‘coming soon’ as work starts – Devon Live

Parallel to this, the District Council is obliged to allow tens of thousands of houses to be built as part of its draft local plan:

Draft Local Plan proposes new housing – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And specific proposals are now taking shape.

In the last fortnight, a developer has put forward plans for a ‘garden village’:

An outline planning application has been submitted to East Devon District Council for a garden village comprising more than 1,000 homes and community facilities. Carden Group has submitted the plans, which are for 220 acres of land in Exeter.

As well as 1,035 homes, the proposals feature a neighbourhood centre, a two-form entry primary school with early years provision, public open space such as play areas and allotments, a sports hub, employment land, and an extension to the Cranbrook Energy Centre. Of the homes, 15 per cent will be affordable and 4 per cent will be for custom and self-build.

Permission sought for a garden village in Exeter | The Planner

Plans for 1,000 Devon homes in huge new neighbourhood near Exeter Airport – Business Live

Last week, the district council met up to consider a ‘second Cranbrook’:

East Devon is set to get a ‘second Cranbrook’ as a new town on the edge of Exeter has been included in a draft version of the new Local Plan. It is hoped the new development could include up to 8,000 new high quality, sustainable homes along with a range of community facilities and amenities.

Councillors on Friday are set to recommend endorsement of the draft local plan which outlines plans for further housing growth across the district over the next 20 years. That would be subject to refinements to the plan being made when the Strategic Planning Committee meet again on November 1…

“Local plan policy will provide for a second new town in East Devon on land in close proximity to the City of Exeter. This scale of proposed development will help ensure that a wide range of services and facilities will be provided at the new town with sufficient monies generated to support substantive infrastructure provision.”

Devon set to get a second Cranbrook – Devon Live

Agenda for Strategic Planning Committee on Friday, 7th October, 2022, 9.30 am – East Devon

This has excited some response – with lots of comments from Devon Live readers:

Devon residents have been left fearful of the impact that a ‘second Cranbrook’ to be built on the edge of Exeter could have. The new town is included in the draft version of the new East Devon Local Plan…

But with work on Cranbrook’s town centre only beginning now, ten years after houses started to spring up, and people moved into the new town, there is scepticism from locals that the infrastructure would come alongside the housing. And while the concept of a second ‘new town’ for East Devon is not new, reaction to the proposals has been mixed at best.

For many, their most pressing concern was the need for additional services to cope with an increase in population in the area, including one person who asked: “Have they included health centre and GP practice in their proposals? Services are already at breaking point due to demand”.

One person agreed, adding that local services should be prioritised over housing, saying: “No mention of hospital or other amenities & improved infrastructure. They should be first followed by houses.”

Others suggested the need for other local resources to be developed to allow for increased demand, proposing: “Perhaps somewhere a new reservoir should be built as well”. Another said “Yet still no more recycling centres to cope with additional waste”.

The impact on the environment and local landscape was another point of discussion in response to the new development. Some feared that building new homes was “Destroying the Devon countryside one field at a time.”

Another disgruntled commenter agreed, explaining: “Building on prime farmland in an era when global food shortages are on the horizon, so we’ve been told. Pure genius. Well done. Take a bow.”

Some questioned the need for more housing after the development of Cranbrook in recent years. One said “Haha finish Cranbrook before starting another project. I’d like to know where are these 8000 families coming from to fill the homes once built? They must have homes already”.

However, not everyone was unhappy with the plans, including one person who celebrated the news, saying: “Good… progress at last”.

Fears ‘second Cranbrook’ will have huge impact on Devon – Devon Live