Residents invited to have a say on development plan for Cranbrook town centre

Cranbrook residents are being asked how they want their town centre to be developed – with a Morrisons supermarket, new shops and a skate park on the cards. 

A pair of competing outline schemes have been proposed for how the vision can be delivered – with East Devon District Council (EDDC) due to decide between them.

The Cranbrook Consortium of developers has outlined plans which would see a range of facilities begin to come forward in the near future.

It aims to deliver the majority of the scheme by the end of 2021.

An alternative proposal would see a masterplan for a ‘more ambitious’ development created.

This could include a leisure centre and a hotel, but would take longer to become a reality with no guarantee over funding.

The Cranbrook Consortium proposals for the town centre. Image: Cranbrook Town Council

The Cranbrook Consortium proposals for the town centre. Image: Cranbrook Town Council

Councillor Les Bayliss, chairman of Cranbrook Town Council and of the authority’s planning committee, said: “The discussions which are taking place include an identified supermarket provider, but if the consortium’s proposals are not taken forward, that provider would fall away and there would be a need to wait for another to come forward.

“The situation is finely balanced and requires a significant decision to be made.

“There is a chance now to deliver a comprehensive and holistic town centre in the near future – or wait for another number of years before anything is delivered, if at all.

“Over the next few days and weeks, the town council will be sharing more details about the two proposals, and residents are invited to comment and, most importantly, to vote in our Facebook poll.”

The proposal from Cranbrook Consortium includes:

  • A 2,500sq m Morrisons supermarket with an additional 1,000sq m of retail space in Tillhouse Road (around ten to 12 shops);
  • A town square;
  • A nursery;
  • Around 350 town centre homes;
  • Town hall with café, meeting spaces and around 15 rentable office units (including land and around one-third of the construction costs);
  • Children’s centre, youth centre and library in a single building (including land and the construction costs to the Section 106 value);
  • A skate park
  • Land for extra care facilities delivered by Devon County Council (DCC);
  • Land for a ‘blue light’ facility to house fire, police and ambulance services;
  • Opportunities to provide additional retail outlets.
The land earmarked for the town centre in Cranbrook.

The land earmarked for the town centre in Cranbrook.

If this proposal is accepted by EDDC’s Strategic Planning Committee, a planning application would need to be submitted and approved.

DCC has already put forward outline plans for a new community building which would include a library, children’s centre with public health nursing provision and a youth centre with outdoor recreational space.

The hub would be located just off Tillhouse Road and Cedar Close.

Another approach being considered by EDDC officers is to develop a ‘supplementary planning document (SPD)’ for the town centre.

It would include  similar facilities to those listed in the consortium’s proposal, as well as some workshops and light industrial units, a hotel, and possibly a leisure centre.

The final detailed plans have not been made public.

A Cranbrook Town Council spokesperson said: “We have today launched a consultation for residents to state their preference relating to the development of the town centre in Cranbrook and the town council has been pressing for the delivery of the town centre for some considerable time.

“In short there is a choice between delivering a range of town centre facilities now. Or an alternative approach which seeks to deliver a more ambitious town centre at some undetermined time in the future without certainty over what can be delivered, how it’s going to be funded and how long it’s going to take.

“The masterplan proposal might deliver a more ambitious town centre, but we don’t know how long it would take EDDC to develop the town centre masterplan, there is no funding for those extra items and no timescale for delivery – it may take five years, possibly ten, or even longer and there is no guarantee that anything will be delivered at all.

“The consortium is not obligated to provide these extra facilities and the process would rely on take-up from other potential investors.”

The consultation can be accessed here.

The town council will submit its response to EDDC when residents’ views are known.

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Community hub with library and café, nursing space, youth centre and games area proposed for Cranbrook town centre

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