A bid to bring forward the development of important community facilities for Cranbrook has been backed by county councillors.
The new town has plans for a children’s centre, library and youth facilities to be built at key intervals in its development – tied with occupancy levels.
Some services for residents are required sooner than first envisaged due to rising demand from the growing population.
A proposal to bring forward a multi-purpose integrated building – to be constructed in the next few years – was given the go-ahead this week.
Blueprints will now go through the usual planning process and a public consultation.
The new building will be designed to host a range of Devon County Council (DCC) services and be able to adapt to future changes in service provision.
It would include space for a children’s centre, youth services, adult social care, and a library – with potential use for public health and highways services.
DCC’s Public Health Nursing Service could share the children’s centre space.
The facility would support local community-based services within the town and it is expected that there would be space for use or hire by other organisations.
Current plans for Cranbrook require developers to build such facilities only when certain trigger points are reached.
However, the new proposal will see DCC will work with partners, including district and town councils and developers, to deliver the facilities sooner.
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, cabinet member responsible for economy and skills, said: “The existing agreement is for these key services – the library, youth and a children’s centre facilities – to be built over the next two to six years.
“But as the town is continuing to grow, especially noting the high proportion of families with young children and need for additional support, we must bring them forward.
“We believe that our proposed integrated community facilities building in Cranbrook’s town centre is the best way to provide these required facilities.
“It would allow residents to benefit sooner, and give us greater control over the design and delivery of the facilities.”
Cllr Sara Randall-Johnson, member for Broadclyst, said: “It is great news. Local residents will soon have access to these valued services in this new and exciting building right in the heart of Cranbrook.
“Whilst the children’s centre and youth services cater for our younger population, the library really is for everyone. Having a wealth of books easily available for the bedtime story or the relaxing afternoon read can be enjoyed by us all.”
Cllr Ray Bloxham, also a member for Broadclyst, said: “For too long there has been a misunderstanding that the developers have sole responsibility to deliver the town centre facilities.
“It is crucial that all three tiers of local government work together to bring forward much needed infrastructure.”