New town is announced for East Devon, with plans to build 8,000 homes

A new town in East Devon with 8,000 homes is to be built near the Devon County Showground at Westpoint, near Clyst St Mary.

East Devon district Councillors have decided it is the best place for the settlement, which comes around 12 years after spades went in the ground at Cranbrook, around six miles away, writes local democracy reporter Will Goddard.

The new development will be on land between Exeter Airport and Crealy Theme Park, and 2,500 homes are expected to be constructed by 2040.

It is south of the A30 and north of the A3052, roughly west of Farringdon and east of Westpoint.

Plans for the new town will now be developed further, and another public consultation is planned towards the end of next year.

Councillors had three options, all within a small area at the western part of East Devon, but this location is seen as the most viable.

Cllr Geoff Jung (Lib Dem, Woodbury and Lympstone) thinks a new town is better than more development in existing communities. He said: “We are required by government to build 910 dwellings a year.

“A self-contained new community would be able to provide all the required facilities and connecting infrastructure in one location at a more acceptable cost, without the need to upgrade our district infrastructure throughout.

“Our already-failing infrastructure could not support our existing communities to grow substantially without the required increased education, health, utilities, sewage infrastructure, plus transport links that would be required spread throughout rural East Devon.

“Two thirds of our district is in protected landscapes. Plus, we have a heavily protected world heritage coastline, numerous floodplains, and estuaries, so we have little choice.

“The only way to go is to complete Cranbrook new town and to build another community as well.”

But Cllr Jess Bailey (Independent, West Hill and Aylesbeare) said: “This is our open countryside, and our villages, which has evolved over hundreds and thousands of years. And we’re about to radically change it.”

She continued: “We’re being presented with it as being a really positive option because we won’t have to have estates on the outside of our towns, but we’re already getting estates on the outside of our towns.”

Councillors also had concerns about a potential impact on traffic in the Exeter area.  Cllr Kevin Blakey (Independent, Cranbrook) said: “It is going to be a dormitory for the city of Exeter, so transport is going to be a big issue there.

“One of the worries for me is that the only option for transport is the road. There are no railway lines that are near it or can get near it, ever will get near it, unlike Cranbrook.”

Cllr Olly Davey (Green, Exmouth Town) spoke about how although many do not want more houses, some do.

He said: “If you ask people in East Devon if they want to see further development, they’ll say no. Why would they? They’ve got a home. It’s only the people that are desperately still trying to find a home in East Devon who want to see further development.”

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