Place Scrutiny Committee
11 September 2015
To define the urban development expansion pattern, including boundaries between settlements, green and built spaces, in the Exeter/East and Mid Devon/Teignbridge areas which all involved agencies will support with a view to inclusion in the Local Plans.
All local authorities in Devon to negotiate a Devon-wide planning strategy in order to maximise the benefits of residential, employment, retail and recreational opportunities in different part of the county.
To implement equal social housing allocations across all phases of the development of Cranbrook, in order to ensure social cohesion, or plan how to mitigate the effects of implementing different demographic profiles in different parts of the town.
East Devon District Council
Homes and Community Agency
To establish a multi-disciplinary team across Devon County Council to plan and implement future service provision in Cranbrook, Sherford and future large extensions to existing settlements, including but not limited to
Devon County Council
Growth Point team
To enhance the provision of services for older children and young people until permanent services are established and commission similar services for older children and young people in Sherford as the first houses are occupied.
Devon County Council
To establish a strategic health and wellbeing group as a matter of urgency which oversees the development of a health and wellbeing strategy for Cranbrook, including representatives from all strands of the community, including lead county councillors, public health, social care and the Cranbrook Town Council.
Integrated Care for Exeter (ICE) Board
To erect temporary road signs and signposts to roads off junctions before permanent street furniture was installed.
1. Cranbrook is a new town being developed in East Devon, with close proximity to the city of Exeter to the west and Exeter airport to the south. The town's delivery is led by East Devon District Council in partnership with the Developer Consortium (Hallam Land Management, Taylor Wimpey, Bovis Homes, Persimmon Homes and Charles Church), the New Community Partners (NCP), Devon County Council, the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point Team and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The new homes completions rate is one of the highest in the South West and demonstrates a success story for everyone involved. Cranbrook is now a sizeable settlement with over 1,000 homes complete and occupied by around 2,500 residents in Phase 1. Subject to ongoing planning application, this could rise to approximately 7,600properties by 2031.
The take-up of the help-to-buy scheme was at one point the second-highest in the country by postcode. 400 new home occupations are delivered in Cranbrook per year, a rate which is currently not achieved anywhere else in the UK.
2. The delivery model through which Cranbrook is being brought forward is a very commercially driven model which relies on significant private sector investment in the region of probably 1bn+ ultimately. Cranbrook started at a time of a double-dip recession. A lot of what has been delivered to date has been brought forward early, particular in comparison to other developments nationally. For example, the trigger for St Martin's primary school was 500 occupations and it was opened before there were 50 households living in Cranbrook. A key challenge was how to deliver a sustainable community but in a different and much more difficult financial climate than the one which existed when the Section 106 Agreement for the first half of Cranbrook was negotiated.
3. A huge amount has been achieved since building work began at Cranbrook in June 2011. The first residents collected their keys in summer 2012 and St Martin's Primary School opened its doors shortly after when there were less than 50 homes occupied. A half-hourly bus service and the multi-purpose Younghayes Community Centre followed, along with a children's play area, open space in the country park and connections made to already improved cycle and walking routes. The pharmacy and GP surgery are now open and seven new shops, including a supermarket, will open soon opposite the Younghayes Centre. Cranbrook's railway station is nearing completion and in September 2015 the Cranbrook Education Campus opens its doors to primary and secondary school children for the first time. Community spirit is strong in this new town, which boasts a wide selection of activities and groups set up in many cases by the residents themselves. Cranbrook held its first elections in May and it now has its own Town Council to serve its estimated current population of around 2,500 people living in just over 1,000 homes.
4. Devon County Council was the strategic planning authority and initially proposed the concept of the new town, the intermodal freight terminal, SkyPark and Science Park in the Devon Structure Plan. East Devon District Council, as the local planning authority, provided further detail in their Local Plan and dealt with the planning applications. The original concept for Cranbrook emerged in 1991. An integrated community framework provided for residential dwellings developed around social, retail and community facilities. The community response has evolved from significant objections to the original application for 2,900 homes to a now strong demand for housing. The lessons of Phase 1 suggest that future phases should focus on residents' needs to ensure that quality of life is maintained in addition to the provision of physical infrastructure such as delivering new roads, housing and open spaces.
5. Currently just under 3,500 additional houses have planning consent, with five additional planning applications for a total of an additional 4,620 dwellings pending. If these new applications are permitted, Cranbrook will multiply in size.
6. All of Devon County Council's Scrutiny Committees set up this task group to take stock of the current progress and consider what the future holds, and also to feed into the following work streams:
a) Devon County Council's Cabinet is expecting a report in October 2015 which is to consider the approach to providing community services in areas of new development. In particular, this will focus on Cranbrook and Sherford as new towns which are developing in the county. The report will also consider specific proposals for an integrated service facility delivery at Cranbrook in order to help secure a 20m loan from the Homes and Communities Agency, which will enable early delivery of some of the community facilities during Phase 1. Section 106 Agreements between Devon County Council, East Devon District Council and the developers provide for a permanent library, a youth facility, a children's centre, schools, open spaces, including play areas and much more.
b) Another similar development, Sherford, is currently being planned in the South Hams close to the border with Plymouth. Sherford had a more detailed design code than Cranbrook but no formal consortium, only three main house builders.
7. Councillors Peter Bowden (member of the Place Scrutiny Committee, also a member of East Devon District Council), Richard Hosking (member of the People's and Corporate Services Scrutiny Committees), Andrew Moulding (Chairman, Place Scrutiny Committee, also a member of East Devon District Council), Sara Randall Johnson (Chairman, People's Scrutiny Committee), Rosemary Rowe (member of the People's and Corporate Services Scrutiny Committees, also a member of South Hams District Council) and Richard Westlake (Chairman, Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee and member of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee) served on the task group, which set out to
a) evaluate Devon County Council's and East Devon District Council's strategies and policies as well as those of New Community Partners in relation to the development of Cranbrook.
b) seek the views of stakeholders.
c) identify and consider in detail any issues or problems in the development or current delivery of Cranbrook.
d) recommend to Devon County Council's Cabinet suggestions for developments and/or improvements as well as any lessons learned for other developments across the county geography.
8. The physical development of Phase 1 commenced during a difficult economic climate in 2011. A significant amount of public sector funding was provided to reduce risk for private sector developers and to help ensure that the development commenced. Initially, grant funding was available and now public sector financing consists largely of interest-bearing loans from various sources. This has been a very significant change over the course of the last 5years and will have a direct bearing on how Cranbrook is delivered in to the future, for example with regard to the quantum and tenure mix of affordable housing.
9. Cranbrook is being built in phases and will grow over time to an unknown size which makes strategic planning difficult. The task group concluded that planning officers will now have to be very clear on where to extend the town further and also whether Cranbrook would constitute a standalone development in the future or an urban extension of Exeter, linking with other developments taking place in its vicinity as part of a wider growth corridor. Additional development has also taken place or been approved in other locations on the periphery of Exeter which had not been contained in the East Devon or Exeter Local Plans, most notably at Pinhoe and at Tithebarn Green / Mosshayne, due to the Government's "five-year land supply" policy. A further consideration will have to be planning and protecting high-quality green spaces against developments and the boundaries between settlements.
10. Participants also highlighted the importance of sub-regional planning, incorporating employment and retail opportunities in the economic centres with places to live in different parts of the county, e.g. Barnstaple or Torbay, which would need to be well-connected by reliable infrastructure if a sub-regional approach was to be successful.
Recommendation 1a: To define the urban development expansion pattern, including boundaries between settlements, green and built spaces, in the Exeter/East and Mid Devon/Teignbridge areas which all involved agencies will support with a view to inclusion in the local plans.
Recommendation 1b: All local authorities in Devon to negotiate a Devon-wide planning strategy in order to maximise the benefits of residential, employment, retail and recreational opportunities in different part of the county.
11. The residents who occupy Phase 1 are local 49% from Exeter, 28% from East Devon, 16% from the rest of Devon and only 7% from outside Devon. Phase 1 of the Cranbrook development contains 40% social housing which will reduce to 25% in the future phases due to an anticipated change in East Devon District Council's policy based on a more up-to-date viability assessment. This is in turn reflects the very substantial changes to the funding regime for affordable housing. Phase 1 of Cranbrook secured circa 16m of grant funding for the delivery of affordable housing including the social rent tenure. Grant funding is no longer available and future phases will need to be delivered at a lower proportion and with a different tenure mix in order to be viable. By way of contrast, Phase 1 of Sherford, which is about to begin construction, will deliver less than 10% affordable housing because of this revised financial regime. Nevertheless, members were concerned about the potential impact of creating different areas of the town with different demographics separated by a town centre.
Recommendation 2: To implement equal social housing allocations across all phases of the development of Cranbrook, in order to ensure social cohesion, or plan how to mitigate the effects of implementing different demographic profiles in different parts of the town.
House building vs. town building
12. Developers are house builders, not town builders. The planning of e.g. the town centre and open spaces is the responsibility of the district council as the local planning authority whose responsibility it is to ensure that developing land commercially is coordinated with building a new community with social as well as physical facilities and infrastructure. It took five years to negotiate the original Section 106 Agreement.
13. Numerous concerns were shared with the task group in relation to the developers' activities, among them a large number of incidents relating to the quality of the completed homes, including compliance with plans and residents struggling to encourage developers to address any shortcomings. Landscaping of community space has followed rather than preceded development and the management and maintenance of future community space and development land is lacking. The number of complaints regarding the quality of the built environment resulted in some community representatives being concerned about Cranbrook's future reputation and the success of future phases.
14. Despite numerous invitations it was disappointing that none of the four house builders were available to comment on the concerns which participants shared with the task group.
15. There is no standard model for planning community infrastructure and negotiating with developers, service commissioners and providers, but what is critical in creating a new town is upfront funding to support delivery the development of roads, community infrastructure and affordable housing from the public purse. Some of those facilities, e.g. the primary and secondary schools, Clyst Honiton bypass and Younghayes Community Centre, have been finalised ahead of schedule in Cranbrook. For others, notably the train station, there is a strong public perception that facilities are substantially behind schedule. Building and operating facilities without residents to use them is not viable but equally, residents expect facilities as soon as they move in. Participants repeatedly called for a multi-disciplinary team to plan and shape the future provision of services in Cranbrook.
Recommendation 3: To establish a multi-disciplinary team across Devon County Council to plan and implement future service provision in Cranbrook, Sherford and future large extensions to existing settlements, including but not limited to
16. The residential building and sales success of Phase 1 was aided by a Phased Access Strategy and attributed to completion of links to an excellent transport infrastructure. Cranbrook is served by a regular bus route into adjacent towns and the City of Exeter and is well-connected to junction 29 on the M5 because of the Clyst Honiton bypass. It is also situated in close proximity to the airport and will benefit from its own train station on the Exeter to London Waterloo line. Expectations concerning the delivery timescales for the train station were raised by the Cranbrook Consortium when they erected a large billboard stating that this would happen in 'Autumn/Winter 2013'. The station is now due to open in the autumn of 2015, depending on Network Rail completing the works. Subsequently there is a widely-held perception that the delivery of the station is late and a number of participants felt that negative posts on social media caused a degree of damage to the town's image.
17. Cranbrook's original concept is that of an eco-town, designed to lend itself to high usage of public transport and green infrastructure routes against the private motor car. The town already features open spaces in the Country Park and connections made to improved cycle and walking routes to the Exeter City network which are well used. In the absence of alternative public transport provision other than a limited but expanding bus service, car parking facilities were described as inadequate, including insufficient car parking allocation per bedroom, no visitors' car parking, allocated parking bays being situated away from homes and garages being physically too small for cars to fit in them. Concern was expressed that habits formed in the early days would be hard to unlearn and that transport infrastructure should be delivered in line with residential development. Residents criticised "blue sky" bicycle thinking ignoring the reality that today's Society had a two car per dwelling dependency which should be catered for in new development.
18. The roads in the town are not yet adopted, and as they are carrying significant volumes of construction traffic, the County Council does not currently have timescales for when responsibility will be transferred. The maintenance for the roads remains the responsibility of the developers, including gritting in the winter. The task group understands that the developers have an agreement with Devon County Council to finance gritting by the highway authority in severe weather. Several participants expressed concerns about dangerous car parking by residents and developers on pavements, corners and junctions but Devon County Council cannot extend its civil parking enforcement service until the roads are adopted.
19. The success of Phase 1 was also greatly aided by the early delivery of the primary school which was relocated from Clyst Honiton. It opened in September 2012 with just 32 children and by the end of the 2015 summer term, over 400 children were attending. The school had been operating on a standard per-capita funding basis but with a large building to maintain and a small pupil base to begin with, this had proved very difficult. In the autumn of 2013 the Head Teacher agreed with Devon County Council's schools' finance team some formula-based forward funding which has been provided since this meant St Martin's was able to operate more strategically.
20. The Cranbrook Education Campus run by the Ted Wragg Trust is opening in September 2015 for pupils aged 2-16. Cranbrook has been particularly attractive to young families with disproportionally high numbers of residents aged 0-9 and 25-34 years of age compared to the English average. Despite these success stories, there remain a number of concerns:
a) Safe access routes to the Cranbrook Education Campus (primary and secondary schools) were due to be completed by the end of August 2015, including secure footpaths. An Infrastructure Site Manager employed by the Developer Consortium was overseeing their completion.
b) The task group remains concerned about the secondary school being located next to the railway line. Network Rail has committed to delivering awareness training for the children once per year in the school. The school was also planning to operate manned gates.
c) The main road through Cranbrook is not finished which might cause problems for parents whose children attend both the Cranbrook Education Campus. They would have to drop children off at both sites at similar times with no direct access route to both.
d) A pre-school facility would have assisted at an early stage.
21. When the first residents moved into Cranbrook in the summer of 2012, there was no social or community infrastructure or service provision beyond the completion of their homes. The task group repeatedly heard how this was a problem especially for the more vulnerable residents, including single parent families and residents without access to private transport. Social housing occupants were housed in Cranbrook and thereby removed from established communities, with shops, public transport and public services, and lived in Cranbrook in isolation. The complete lack of healthcare, social care or other professional support during the first 18-24months meant that some residents were left to struggle on their own, exacerbating existing problems, including (post-natal/long-term) depression and drug/alcohol dependency.
22. The task group heard how services or events the school or church had organised were well-attended and that the primary school's head teacher and the minister for Cranbrook have been instrumental in building the community. For example, a Facebook page served as a virtual socialising space and a toddler group was provided in a spare classroom in the primary school and a health visitor was invited to attend regularly following the organisers' initiative. The task group felt that this should not have been their responsibility.
23. The positive outcome of the lack of services and facilities was that residents in the town have been shaping its community and have built good networks. For example, the Cranbrook Community Fund was established with the help of Broadclyst Parish Council, a Parishes Together grant and the County Councillor's locality budget which funds community projects, clubs and societies. The learning from this is, however, that
a) healthcare, social care or other professional support should have been provided much earlier, and that
b) a physical place for residents to go for social interaction and to build informal social support networks was required, e.g. a pop-up caf , a youth club, skate park or library.
Provision for children and young people
24. Participants repeatedly expressed how there was provision for young children under the age of five in the form of open spaces and safe play areas, and some surrounded by unsafe fencing, but still no facilities exist for older children and teenagers. This resulted in problems, e.g. older children using the park and making it an unpleasant environment for younger children to play. Although funding had been available in the Section 106 Agreement from the beginning, the youth bus had only commenced at a later date. The task group understands that this provision was temporally withdrawn following an alleged antisocial behaviour incident at the end of July 2015. Participants commented that the provision should increase in order to combat antisocial behaviour issues, rather than be withdrawn.
Recommendation 4: To enhance the provision of services for older children and young people until permanent services are established and commission similar services for older children and young people in Sherford as the first houses are occupied.
Cranbrook Medical Centre
25. The Cranbrook Medical Centre opened on 20 April 2015, nearly three years after the first residents moved in. An unsuccessful tender for new services and premises had been issued by the then Devon Primary Care NHS Trust in the past. The reorganisation of the NHS saw the responsibility for the commissioning of primary care services transfer to NHS England which awarded the contract to Devon Doctors. A funding challenge remains: Core services delivered in GP surgeries are funded per capita based on the number of formal registrations with a surgery. Although the current practice in Cranbrook has a capacity for approximately 3,500 patients, only 514 patients were formally registered at the end of July 2015. NHS England has provided some core minimum funding to the practice whilst the list size remains low and this will be paid until the registered population reaches a certain size, at which point capitation-based funding will be applied; another example of upfront funding required in the initial period. Two GPs, who are building their work load up to full time, and one nurse are currently practicing.
26. A backlog of patients who still need to be registered remains. When moving to Cranbrook, residents had to register with the Pinhoe & Broadclyst Medical Practice in cases where their old surgeries would not keep them registered. The Pinhoe & Broadclyst Medical Practice was difficult to access with public transport from Cranbrook which had proved a challenge for the more vulnerable members of the community.
26. Cranbrook is forecast to have approximately 20,000 residents by 2031 and the GP surgery will have to slowly evolve in order to grow in conjunction with the growth in residents and their future healthcare needs. The surgery will need a new building in the future with sufficient capacity to expand in a modular way to grow with the population. It would therefore be important for the NHS to be able to access Section 106 funding as appropriate to enable such premises to be facilitated, although there are concerns around State Aid which will need to be addresses as GP practices are effectively private businesses. NHS England is currently working with other health partners to develop a joint response to planning applications being received.
27. The independent pharmacy is being accommodated in temporary premises at present and the task group heard from participants how its provision might have been better coordinated and co-located with the GP surgery with improved forward planning.
Future health and wellbeing services
28. With a well-documented national and local strategic emphasis on prevention and enablement, rather than traditional disease treatment, Cranbrook presents health and wellbeing commissioners and providers with an unprecedented opportunity to tailor services to the needs of the population with a clear focus on prevention and enablement. However, although a health impact assessment was completed, no gateway plan or written health and wellbeing strategy exists for Cranbrook to date which could also be used as a blue-print for responding to population expansion elsewhere in the future. Local NHS organisations might also be able to access some funding through NHS England's Healthy New Towns initiative.
29. Service commissioners and providers need to identify the healthcare, social care and general wellbeing needs in Cranbrook urgently in order to plan future service provision, in particular mental health services. The town is growing quickly and reviews of needs and the strategy will have to be undertaken regularly. The task group detected a real spectrum among NHS organisations in their approach to Cranbrook, ranging from proactive service planning to not having been engaged. The group feels very strongly that the intelligence informing needs assessments and service provision should not be based on the number and nature of treatments received by registered patients at the Cranbrook Medical Centre.
30. The task group also suggests co-locating public buildings or building those in close proximity, including the new health and wellbeing and leisure centres.
Case study: Integrated Care for Exeter (ICE)
Twelve public and community sector organisations including Devon County Council, Exeter City Council, NHS providers and Age UK Exeter have joined forces to promote independence for adults with complex needs, by working together to deliver high-quality, cost-effective, sustainable health and social care services. The 'Integrated Care for Exeter' project aims to give residents a better experience of care, better outcomes and improved cost-effectiveness.
The project will see the creation of a cross-organisational team to provide truly coordinated support, with key frontline posts moving to single common roles. This means that services will be delivered through a single point of contact which will also provide information on care options. People who use services will require only a single assessment which will be shared by all those who need to know. New voluntary sector roles will be developed to facilitate a more integrated response to those at most risk, drawing on more of the skill and resource of the voluntary and community sector.
Others will benefit from support through community-based wellbeing networks to deliver alternative and early intervention services designed to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent declining health. These roles will provide co-ordinated support and will include packages of support for safe early discharge and links into community-based services.
It is planned that Integrated Care for Exeter (ICE) is rolled out across East Devon with Cranbrook as an early adopter site.
Recommendation 5: To establish a strategic health and wellbeing group as a matter of urgency which oversees the development of a health and wellbeing strategy for Cranbrook, including representatives from all strands of the community, including lead county councillors, public health, social care and the Cranbrook Town Council.
31. The annual NHS commissioning cycle currently does not allow provider organisations to invest into services upfront in order to reap medium to long-term benefits. Commissioning outcomes and letting service providers determine how to achieve those within appropriate timescales might be a more appropriate approach. It will remain difficult to achieve prevention and enablement as long as funding mechanisms are tied to the number of registered patients and administered treatments.
32. The three emergency response services, Devon and Cornwall Police, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, have been planning an integrated response plan for Cranbrook and are planning to create a tri-service station. Before the trigger point for this is reached in the Section 106 Agreement, the services are hoping to recruit and maintain a network of community responders.
33. During the development stages of Cranbrook, a regular dialogue between all three emergency response services and the developers is necessary in order to ensure an effective and timely response to emergencies. For example, the agencies have to be kept informed of road completions and updated maps. Currently, vehicles are carrying maps in hard copy because of the speed of the development at Cranbrook and time lags in updating of GPS mapping services. Emergency response services have to be kept informed of changes to the road network and the number and location of occupied properties.
Recommendation 6: To erect temporary road signs and signposts to roads off junctions before permanent street furniture was installed.
34. The district heating system supplying Cranbrook and the SkyPark is the first low-density district heating system in the country. It employs 20 local people and constituted a planning condition under the Section 106 Agreement. Residents in the town already benefit from energy prices cheaper than gas and the entire project was hailed a success by many participants. The current provider operates a gas-fired system and plans to replace gas as the source of heat with heat which is a bi-product from an Anaerobic Digestion Plant powered from food waste in the future.
Provision of broadband
35. The provision of broadband is crucial for many aspects of everyday life from creating (self-)employment opportunities to access to resources for residents of all ages, including homework, banking and shopping. Cranbrook is the first copper-free town in England with Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) being rolled out to every house. Independent Fibre Networks Ltd are the provider which was a commercial deal struck by the Consortium. However this does mean that there is no BT infrastructure in Phase 1 at all, meaning no choice of service provider. It is the intention to attach a condition requiring the provision of multiple sets of service ducts to houses in future planning permissions. There is also a poor mobile phone signal which, coupled with potentially significant delays in securing initial broadband/phone line connections, could lead to a sense of isolation.
36. One of the objectives in the development of Cranbrook is to develop the employment infrastructure, i.e. create one job per residential dwelling. Employment opportunities exist in nearby Exeter, the SkyPark and the Science Park and eventually in the town itself, with the intention that Cranbrook develops as a small enterprise town. The development of small-scale employment spaces is currently being pursued with the conversion of two residential dwellings into offices. Commercial properties in the town centre have not yet sold. The task group questioned where spaces are in the town for small- and medium-sized enterprises to establish their businesses. An Economic Development Strategy has been developed for Cranbrook.
Looking to the future
37. A planning application for the town's first public house is imminent and the development of the town centre is evolving according to market forces. The next batch of loan funding from the Homes and Communities Agency is intended to fund the development of a leisure centre, library, children's centre and town council offices with the application expected to be submitted in September 2015. The Section 106 Agreement also included a number of additional provisions, including a health and wellbeing site, youth service and extra care housing. The planning process for crucial community infrastructure commences more than three years after the first residents moved in.
38. Another challenge remains of how to build a town centre in the 21st century participants shared much speculation with the task group, ranging from free community Wi-Fi in the town centre to a focus on attracting quality and artisan traders with Exeter in close proximity with its high street bands and quantity of retail opportunities. The Developer Consortium is keen to create some initial activity in the town centre and to ascertain what provision the market demands in order to determine its future use. A community market is being considered as a possible stimulant for commercial development and growth.
39. Cranbrook is not yet future-proof. The physical fabric of Cranbrook is attractive to younger people and there is currently no provision in Cranbrook for an older demographic, including bungalows, retirement homes, over-55 living, extra-care housing, residential and nursing homes. Developers who specialise in this area usually required a minimum amount of occupied homes which Cranbrook will have in the future
40. East Devon District Council is currently leading on the review of the Masterplan for Cranbrook, looking ahead to create a settlement where people are not only residing, but also working, shopping, socialising and helping to shape the town.
41. In summary, the task group believes that the following lessons might benefit the future development of Cranbrook and, indeed, developments of a similar scale elsewhere:
The planning process:
a) The Cranbrook Masterplan is currently being reviewed by East Devon District Council. However it is felt that this could have happened much earlier.
b) Expectations relating to the completion of infrastructure and facilities need to be carefully managed and only realistic commitments should be made.
c) A protocol for early communications between planning officers and developers as well as service commissioners and providers are vitally important, including realistic timeframes, shared ownership and joined-up planning of services. This needs to be overseen at a senior level and followed up if stakeholders do not engage.
d) Clarity is needed in relation to Section 106 Agreements and the Community Infrastructure Levy, including timescales and financial provision for community needs.
e) Trigger points in the Section 106 Agreement need to be carefully identified and the benchmarks not set too high. Trigger points usually mark the beginning of a planning process for rather than delivery of a facility or service.
f) Planning authorities have to strike a delicate balance between ensuring the funding for the quality and aesthetics of the built environment, place-shaping and infrastructure, against minimal statutory powers.
g) The quality of the architecture does not reflect the distinctive characteristics of the built environment in Devon. Cranbrook looks like it could be anywhere in the country. A more detailed and robust design guide should be created and enforced in future phases of the development.
Quality of the built environment:
h) An on-site project manager could supervise and quality-assure all works completed by developers and subcontractors.
i) Schools usually operate on a standard per-capita funding basis which might not be viable if a school is deliberately and significantly growing in size. A formula-based forward funding enables a school to operate more strategically until the final number of pupils has been reached.
j) When relocating an existing school which still falls under the remit of the local education authority, any inevitably volatile data might present a challenge for Ofsted rating purposes and support for a new school from the local authority in addition to the Head Teacher is important.
k) As much social and community infrastructure as possible should be available at the point of the first residents moving. The minimum provision should include:
i. a physical place for social interaction and the building of informal social support networks, e.g. a pop-up caf .
ii. a regular doctor and/or nurse clinic, instead of families having to access health services elsewhere, potentially with no transport of their own and no public transport available.
iii. allocated social workers, health visitors and midwives.
iv. provision for children and young people of all ages.
v. an effective community development facilitator under public sector leadership with a well-defined role.
l) IT, telephony and mobile signals are part of the basic infrastructure as are the other utilities and should have been present before the first house was occupied.
42. This review of the past, present and future development of Cranbrook has shown that the development of the first new town in Devon since the Middle Ages can only be described as a major success. There are a few teething problems which urgently need addressing and a few things which would have been done differently with the benefit of hindsight, but this is the nature of an uncharted venture.
43. The task group would like to thank all those who participated in the process, for the detailed evidence they gave to the task group, for their time and effort and continued commitment to helping to shape this review and its recommendations for improvement.
Councillors Andrew Moulding, Chairman
Sara Randall Johnson
Copies of this report may be obtained from the Democratic Services & Scrutiny Secretariat at County Hall, Room G31, Topsham Road, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4QD or by ringing 01392 384383. It will also be available on the County Council's website at:
If you have any questions or wish to talk to anyone about this report please contact Janine Gassmann, Scrutiny Officer, tel. 01392 384383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Witnesses and evidence
During the course of the review, the task group interviewed representatives from:
- Cranbrook Town Council
- East Devon District Council
- E.on (district heating provider)
- Exeter and East Devon Growth Point
- Exeter City Council
- Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
- Devon County Council strategic planning, highways and traffic management and public health teams
- Devon Partnership NHS Trust
- Hallam Land Management
- National Rail
- NHS England
- NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group
- Parish Councils: Clyst Honiton, Broadclyst, Rockbeare
- Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
- Stagecoach South West
- St Martin's Church of England Primary School, Cranbrook
The task group also invited the following organisations to participate in the review:
- Bovis Homes
- Charles Church
- Church of England Minister for Cranbrook
- Cranbrook Education Campus / Ted Wragg Trust
- Persimmon Homes South West
- Taylor Wimpey
The task group acknowledges that it only invited a limited number of witnesses to the review due to time constraints. For example, the task group was not able to invite the children's centre or individual health professionals, e.g. health visitors.
The task group reviewed a wide range of additional evidence, including, but not exclusively:
Cranbrook Community Forum
Design Council (March 2015): Delivering Cranbrook Workshop Report
Devon Health & Wellbeing: A sustainable new community at Cranbrook: Health impact assessment http://www.devonhealthandwellbeing.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/cranbrook_hia_tech.pdf
East Devon Local Plan 1995-2001 http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/347508/chapter-12-new-community-exeter-pua-part-1.pdf
East Devon District Council: About Cranbrook residents
East Devon District Council: Cranbrook Community questionnaire
East Devon District Council: Cranbrook Services Questionnaire http://eastdevon.gov.uk/consultation-and-surveys/cranbrook-community-questionnaire/cranbrooks-services/
East Devon District Council: Response to the Community Questionnaire
East Devon District Council: What is Cranbrook all about? http://eastdevon.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/evidence-and-research/cranbrook/what-is-cranbrook-all-about/
East Devon District Council Outdoors Activities and Younghayes Centre
New Primary and Secondary Provision. New community of Cranbrook, East Devon. Background Information. March 2014.
Planning and Highway consultation East Devon District Council, November 2006. http://www.devon.gov.uk/loadtrimdocument?url= ilename=EEC/06/210/HQ.CMR&rn=10/WD786&dg=Public (see page 3)
Train station proposal http://www.devon.gov.uk/loadtrimdocument?url= ilename=EEC/11/39/HQ.CMR&rn=11/WD334&dg=Public
Community Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Belonging-to-Cranbrook-Events-Page/1489829467919912
Location of Cranbrook
Location of Sherford
 Cranbrook Population Pyramid, May 2015. Source: Exeter System GP registration data