A new public meadow for walking, relaxing and nature spotting in East Devon is set to be ready to use in 2023, it has been announced.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) said the first new public space, near Broadclyst Station, close to Cranbrook, marks ‘an important landmark’ in creating the Clyst Valley Regional Park.
Around the size of nine rugby pitches, bought by EDDC with cash from developers granted planning permission in East Devon, work will now begin to transform the 25-acre field into a public space, with ponds, woodland and wildflower meadows.
EDDC said ‘commercial sensitivity’ around the sale meant the purchase price of the land would not be revealed.
Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC portfolio holder for coast, country and the environment, said: “I am really pleased to see this open green space coming forward, which will form a part of East Devon’s Clyst Valley Regional Park.
“The new area will provide access into our beautiful countryside with proposals to create ponds, woodland and flower-rich meadows in a nature-rich, public green space.”
He added: “The new space will be located near Broadclyst Station and is presently a series of meadows and hedgerows with a stream running through.
“There are some characterful old oak trees, and lovely views towards Pinhoe ridge.”
Councillor Sarah Chamberlain, EDDC ward member for Broadclyst, said: “We are really pleased to see this fantastic area of open green space come forward for the residents of Broadclyst Station and surrounding areas.
“It is a great opportunity to use this area as the wonderful open countryside that it is.
“It enjoys many features including a very old tree that has gone almost silver in age, many fantastic views and even a stream.
“We hope residents enjoy the space as a link to Exeter or just to relax and take a walk.”
EDDC said work to establish the new green space will now start; the first step is to seek planning permission for change of use of the land from agricultural to public open space.
The district council said the first new public space ‘marks an important landmark’ in creating the Clyst Valley Regional Park, which stretches from the National Trust Killerton estate, to Clyst St Mary, near the Exe Estuary.
EDDC said it expected the new space to open to the public in 2023, ‘providing a wider choice for residents and visitors as an alternative to protected sites such as the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths and the Exe Estuary’.
Councillor Paul Arnott, EDDC leader and portfolio holder for strategic development, said: “This is one of the best schemes currently being run by East Devon District Council and when it is complete residents will gain quiet, sustainable travel routes from Cranbrook to Exeter without needing to get in a car at all.
“We hope that local residents will appreciate a walk along the meandering stream through the middle of the site or just taking in the expansive new green space.”
Roughly equivalent to the size of nine rugby pitches, the land for the area has been funded by money from developers – known as Section 106 payments and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – as part of conditions laid down by EDDC when granting large-scale planning permission in East Devon.
Long-term management of the site will be thrashed out at a future meeting of EDDC’s cabinet.