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Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark visited Cranbrook in East Devon today (Monday 28 September 2015) to see community focussed progress at one of the country’s fastest growing towns.
Cranbrook is one of the largest housing and employment developments in the country and is set to be Devon’s first free-standing new community since the Middle Ages. Already well underway, the town will create 8,000 new homes, schools, social and community buildings, sports facilities and retail provision, a country park and a railway station.
The Government has invested in excess of £43 million, including £20 million from the Local Infrastructure Fund for phase 2 of the development, to fund an education campus and the infrastructure to create the new town centre. The funding is playing an essential part in accelerating and maintaining the rate of house building, with over 1000 homes completed in 3 years.
As part of his visit, Greg Clark MP first met and discussed progress with the key partners including representatives from the local councils, housing associations, and developers. He then talked to local residents to learn how a shared home-ownership scheme provided through DCH, has helped them to afford their own home.
Before setting off on a tour of Cranbrook, he met construction apprentices, hearing first hand how they had benefitted from the development.
As part of his tour, the Minister saw the new Cranbrook Education Campus which will provide 420 primary school places with early years provision and up to 1,000 secondary places within one development. Currently there are just over 100 pupils attending the school.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark said:
"I am pleased to have seen for myself how the collaboration of councils, housing associations, developers and residents has helped create a vibrant new community at Cranbrook.
"What were just blueprints a few short years ago are being transformed, delivering 6,500 new homes, as well as schools, shops and a transport network.
"We're determined to keep the country building and maintain the momentum that has seen housing completions reach a six-year high and I want to see communities across the country to see what they can learn from this development."
Cllr Paul Diviani, Leader, East Devon District Council added: “The Minister was very impressed with the progress we have made at Cranbrook and congratulated us on how all the parties involved are working together to make our new community a success.
“As one of the UK’s fastest growing towns, Cranbrook is meeting local demand by putting people first. We have focussed on the needs of local people by providing much needed facilities like schools and a community centre, early in the life of the town.
“Cranbrook is a great example of helping families to live in the kind of homes they need.”
Colin Molton, Executive Director of the HCA for the South and South West said:
"I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved at Cranbrook, a new community that has benefited from over £43 million of investment from the Homes and Communities Agency.
“Cranbrook is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when local councils, housing associations and developers work together and put the community first. By creating schools, shops and country parks as well as new houses, we've been able to build a place that people are very happy to call home."
Local Infrastructure Funding was launched in 2012 to support large-scale sites with crucial funding to support housing growth.
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark. Photo: James Millar