Devon town set for huge expansion as 1,400 homes plan agreed

Welcome to Cranbrook
Welcome to Cranbrook -Credit:Daniel Clark

Plans for more than 1,400 new homes as part of the massive expansion of Cranbrook have been given the go-ahead. It is the largest planning decision issued by East Devon District Council since permission for the new town was issued, more than 13 years ago.

Persimmon Homes’ plans for Cobdens - bounded to the north by the railway line, to the south by the existing ‘old’ A30 and now B3174 London Road - allows up to 1,435 homes and 10 permanent pitches for gypsies and travellers to be established. There will be a new three form entry primary school, a special educational needs school, a neighbourhood centre, land for a place of worship, a vicarage and a cemetery, as well as play areas, allotments and large areas of green space.

Three other planning applications in relation to Cranbrook’s expansion, which are still under consideration by council planners, are likely to see a further 2,085 homes along with another primary school, sports pitches, open space, play areas, allotments and neighbourhood centres created.

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Ed Freeman, Assistant Director for Planning Strategy and Development Management, said: “We are really pleased to see this planning permission issued. It will provide much-needed homes for people in East Devon as well as important facilities such as new schools, shops and play areas for the Cranbrook community. We look forward to seeing the town continue to grow, bolstering the strong sense of community that Cranbrook has fostered over the past 11 years.”

The development is one of the expansion areas agreed when the Cranbrook Plan was adopted in October 2022 and it guides how the town will accommodate a population of around 20,000 people. It ensures the town has the facilities and services needed to make it a great place to live. The Plan also requires low carbon development and to make financial contributions to important Cranbrook facilities.

The plans for the Cobdens expansion of Cranbrook
The plans for the Cobdens expansion of Cranbrook -Credit:Persimmon Homes

This permission will contribute more than £4 million towards projects including a new health and wellbeing centre, leisure centre, fire station and improvements to London Road to make it more suitable for people walking and cycling. The planning permission is important for a much-needed, new special educational needs school. Devon County Council has been successful in a bid to the Department for Education for funding to build and open the new special educations needs school on this site.

It comes as the high street is slowly emerging in the new town, with a Morrisons supermarket, children’s nursery and shops with a town square currently being built and which is due to be complete this year. These will be the first completed developments in the town centre since the Cranberry Farm pub was opened in 2017.

Cranbrook is expected to eventually have 8,000 houses and a population of 20,000. This would make it the second largest town in East Devon and one of the biggest in the county. It has a population of over 6,700 as of 2021.

A second new 8,000-home town is also on the way for East Devon. It will be built on land south of Cranbrook between Exeter Airport and Crealy Theme Park, with 2,500 homes expected by 2040.