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Cranbrook Development Plan Document (DPD) (Council Minute) Featured

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  • Did we Support?: Meeting not yet held
  • EDDC Decision: Not Decided Yet
  • Our Comments:

    The Chairman opened the meeting with a welcome to the members of public, noting that many of the residences in, and areas of, Broadclyst Station were represented. Such attendance and input enables Council to submit a response which is not just relative to the legislative planning framework but is truly democratic and reflective of the views of the local community.

    Cllr Massey explained the role of the Parish Council within the planning framework, and that the Parish Council in this instance is not a statutory consultee[1] but represents the community’s voice.

    The Masterplan will contain policies which will determine Cranbrook’s future development. It is not a planning application; individual sites will come forward through the planning system as usual.

    The Chairman explained that in order to make best use of the time available, the meeting will focus on development in the western expansion zone, although Council’s final comment to the Planning Authority may include comment on other Cranbrook expansion zones and wider issues such as highways, education, healthcare. Local residents are able to submit their comments directly to East Devon District Council (as the Local Planning Authority).


    The Committee was pleased to receive comments from members of public in relation to the Cranbrook Masterplan. These related to (not exclusively): coalescence, density, landscaping, road network, green infrastructure provision, flooding, public transport, gypsy and traveller provision, airport noise, ecology, protected species conservation, the district heating system, healthcare, emergency services, and the removal of the cemetery provision.
    The public comments inform the following Minute, and will be incorporated into the Council’s response to the consultation, the deadline for which is 9:00 am on Monday 8 January 2018.

    The meeting reconvened under Standing Orders


    The following points Cranbrook Development Plan Document (DPD) were noted:

    Broadclyst Station is an established community comprising some 58[2] homes and housing approximately 150[3] people, as well as c.20 businesses. There is a strong sense of community spirit amongst residents, many of whom have lived there for 15+ years. It is therefore disappointing and unjust that Broadclyst Station is not mentioned whatsoever throughout the DPD. The DPD opens with the statement that Scenarios 2 and 4[4] are favoured as they minimise impact on Rockbeare, intimating that Cranbrook needs to be sensitive to and respectful of its relationship with surrounding settlements.

    1. 1.   Coalescence

    Two of the five purposes[5] of green belt land are: “to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another”; and “to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment”. The green wedge to the east of Cranbrook identified in Strategy 8 in the Local Plan only allows development where settlement coalescence would not result; this principle should be extended across the whole of the town.

    The character of the Bluehayes parcel has been assessed as having a Low landscape sensitivity; the DPD compares this against greater sensitivities in other parcels but the Bluehayes landscape has significance in its own right and development will have considerable visual impact on Broadclyst Station, especially if 3-story properties are to be built.

    The DPD aims to “maximise the health and wellbeing of the residents of Cranbrook”[6];
    Residents seek a green buffer zone to include native trees between the western-most properties and the existing properties in Broadclyst Station. A buffer zone incorporating and extending in from the existing boundary hedge will complement the area and:

    1. Provide a nature corridor (see ecology section)
    2. Enhance the landscape, reflecting the mature parkland at Bluehayes and giving the western expansion zone an enviable ‘feel’.
    3. Provide a natural drainage area.
    4. Provide open green space for leisure and outdoor recreation use
    5. 2.     Density.
      1. The proposed density for most of the western expansion zone (Bluehayes) is 45-50 dwellings per hectare. There is no correlation between this density and the green infrastructure plan[7].; a well-placed, cross-town cycle / footpath network is a core element of Cranbrook’s healthy town status, and – along with good public transport connections – forms a major part of reducing the reliance on the private car.
        There is some work to be done here, as the density and GI set out in the DPD does not match. It was felt that the highest density should be nearer the town centre, as is traditionally the case in town centres.
      2. Broadclyst Station is currently surrounded by green fields and is an established settlement of family homes. Lower density on the edges of the town would be more sympathetic to, and in keeping with, neighbouring properties.
      3. 3.     Gypsy and Traveller provision.
        1. Land on which the site is proposed is in private ownership, with no developer options on the land. Identified need should be allocated on land which is available for development.
        2. There is a planning history of this site not being suitable for development.
        3. Community research through the Broadclyst Neighbourhood Plan and resulting early talks with DCC Highways support further discussion to look at closing the southern end of Station Road. The reasoning to place the gypsy and traveller provision at this location (where access to services and facilities as well as the wider road network are available[8]) would therefore no longer be relevant as access to the site would be via Bluehayes estate roads, past the primary school and through residential areas.
        4. The site is remote from town centre facilities, amenities, and equipment; this does not encourage integration between the gypsy community and the town, and could be seen as discriminatory.
        5. Where gypsy and traveller provision is created at same time as new builds, incoming residents would be more likely to accept that provision. The DPD shows lack of recognition for the settled community at Broadclyst Station.
        6. All of the District’s gypsy and traveller provision has been earmarked for Cranbrook. Close proximity of established gypsy families can cause local friction; mixing provision for permanent gypsy sites with transient traveller pitches creates conditions for long-term and ongoing conflict. This will attract negative media attention to Cranbrook, potentially devaluing Cranbrook properties and affecting sales of open market properties. It is far more sensible to separate gypsy and travellers onto different sites, and spread the sites across the whole local authority area.
        7. 4.     Cemetery
          Cemetery provision has been removed from the original plan; although East Devon Crematorium is nearby, we question if this decision takes into account the increase in both the local population and aging demographic pattern across the west country.
        8. 5.     Road network
          1. DPD highways comment:
            Station Road: traffic regularly queues back to the bridge, which is 1km away to the north. Exit from Station Road onto the B3174 is currently by a give way junction rather than roundabout or traffic light system, and there is no central safe zone on the B3174 in which vehicles can wait, having crossed half-way. Motorists must wait until there is a gap in east-west traffic flow in each direction before joining the B3174; this causes considerable delays, with it taking over 20 minutes to exit Station Road from joining the back of the queue at the bridge.
          2. Railway bridge: there are several issues relating to the bridge:

                                                        i.     the only parking for the houses either side of the bridge is on-street; this effectively makes the road single-track from the Lodge Trading Estate junction to the Cotterell Road junction, a distance of over 400 metres.

                                                       ii.     The approach to the bridge is such that it is not possible to see oncoming traffic; there is a point of no return for both directions of travel, resulting in vehicles meeting on the bridge, with residents parking making it difficult to manoeuvre to allow vehicles to pass.

                                                      iii.     Station Road is the only north-south link for several miles in each direction, carrying local and commuter traffic.

                                                     iv.     Although it is subject to a 7.5t weight limit, this is subject to access. Commercial and employment businesses along the length of the road generate large goods vehicle movements. In addition to this, the rural nature of the area also necessitates large vehicles such as agricultural traffic, milk tankers, animal feed lorries.
    These businesses and farms are a large part of the local economy, with TNT being the largest single employer in Broadclyst Parish. Just as the airport’s current operation and future expansion must be protected, so must our local businesses which provide valuable employment opportunities.

    1. The proposed layout of the western expansion zone does nothing to take Cranbrook traffic off Station Road; there has been a huge increase of traffic on Station Road, especially at peak times. Cranbrook residents and commuters from its southern villages use Station Road to travel north via the B3181 and the M5 at Cullompton (rather than go via junction 29, at which recent delays have been in excess of half an hour to travel from the Exeter Airport junction to the Honiton Road park and ride site). 
    2. Local residents have confirmed[9] that Station Road volume of traffic should be reduced rather than increased, stating their concerns about safety on this narrow route without pavement/verge for almost its entire length. New infrastructure is desperately needed.
    3. It has been mentioned that children from the Bluehayes primary school will feed into Clyst Vale rather than the Cranbrook Education Campus. Station Road is not suitable for students to cycle or walk to school. This is long-established and evidenced by DCC paying for students to have free bus travel.
    4. Strategic highways network comment:
      Infrastructure must be able to support not just existing and forthcoming Cranbrook traffic, but also that created by development of the employment sites of SkyPark, Lidl, and Hayes Farm. Transport modelling anticipates that most of the work-force on these sites will travel on east-west routes, however it is not unreasonable that a significant number of employees will live in parts of Exeter or villages to its north and east which makes Station Road the most direct route, or the quickest given congestion in the junction 29 area.
      Station Road cannot cope with an increased volume of traffic.
    5. Modelling currently used was based on Cranbrook residents working in SkyPark and employment opportunities within Cranbrook. Traffic modelling also presumed that there would be a significant percentage of Cranbrook residents using public transport (bus/train), and that the Intermodal Freight terminal would take up to 50% of goods movements off the road and on to the railway.
      Much has changed since the modelling was carried out; has it been adjusted to take account of the changes, and is the uptake of public transport as anticipated?
    6. The Neighbourhood Plan is considering options for Station Road, especially its junction with the B3174, and is in strategic talks with Devon County Council about the possibility of closing the junction and routing traffic entirely through the Bluehayes development.
      It is imperative that the Cranbrook Planners liaise with their surrounding Neighbourhood Plan Steering Groups so that the DPD can come forward in a way which fits community-led policies as well as strategic policy. An initial meeting with Thea Billeter, Cranbrook New Community Manager, has already taken place and wider discussions are planned.
    7. The nature of the B3174 (London Road) is going to change considerably as the expansion zones come forward.
      The Cranbrook DPD shows two ‘local centres with mixed-use and retail frontages’ straddling the B3174. With two proposed phases to the south of the B3174 it is reasonable to anticipate there will be considerable regular pedestrian and cycle movements across the road, as residents go to work, school, use public transport, shop, socialise, play sports, etc. The town centre will come right out to the B3174, with the pub already open immediately adjacent to it.
      With SkyPark, Lidl, and Hayes Farm all at the west end, in close proximity to the Clyst Honiton bypass and tunnel, the associated commercial traffic has easy access to/from the A30 dual carriageway and Junction 29.
      This is the opportunity to look at a 7.5t weight restriction and 30mph limit the full length of the B3174 between junction 29 and Daisy Mount; there is no need for commercial traffic to pass through Cranbrook, Clyst Honiton, and Blackhorse.
      Similarly, the Tithebarn Link road goes right through residential built-up areas, dissecting phase 6 of Tithebarn Green (the Cavanna Homes site) from all public amenities and facilities which will be provided as part of this development. There is neither need nor desire to allow large goods vehicles on this road, with Moor Lane roundabout and Cumberland Way offering a more suitable alternative for commercial traffic.
    8. 6.     Green Infrastructure
      1. The lane which accesses the Station Cottage properties is under private ownership, confirmed in the deeds of ownership.
      2. The proposed Cycle-path between Station Road and Cranbrook Station passes very close to a strong, established community, which has a history of issues with unauthorised access. Design of the path must be such that it clearly demarks public and private land to prevent trespass.
      3. A foot/cyclepath between Broadclyst Station and the B3174 will improve safety and access to public transport for existing and future residents.
      4. The GI plan[10] focuses on on bringing routes in to and across the town from Rockbeare and Whimple, but there is no mention of links to/from Broadclyst Station.
      5. At over 4.5km from east to west boundary, the linear layout of Cranbrook presents design and access challenges. A good GI network is a core element of how people move through the town and the town’s economy and viability will benefit from bringing residents of surrounding villages in to the town for employment, retail, leisure, and recreation purposes.
        The expansion zones are a considerable distance from the town centre, with the highest density proposed for the furthest areas from the town centre. It is essential to offer attractive and accessible GI routes to minimise private car use.
      6. 7.     Flooding
        1. The area in the north-west corner of the Bluehayes parcel has a history of flooding, with depths of 2-3 feet of water common.
        2. Water builds up in the field adjacent to the station and flows down past Sunnyhayes[11]
        3. The Parish Council has been called out to deal with flooding in the Shercroft Close area.
        4. The land in the north-west corner saturates, causing an inspection pit 3ft higher than the lane to flood water back into the lane.
        5. 1999, 2002 and 2008 has seen water over the railway line and over the crest of Station Road.
        6. Local properties and offices have put permanent flood measures in place (raised floor; raised plug sockets etc.) as part of their resilience to regular flooding in the area[12]
        7. New development must improve not worsen the effect of flooding in this north-western corner of Bluehayes site.


    1. 8.     Public Transport
      1. Cranbrook train station is a long way from the town centre; people have to walk a considerable distance to get there or drive to the station in their cars. For local commuters, once they are in their cars they are less likely to park, wait in the cold and catch the train into Exeter.
      2. Busses: despite the Airport and Airport Business Park being a major employment area, there is no direct bus link between them and Cranbrook and Cranbrook Station. North-south public transport links must be created and timetabled so that local residents encouraged to use them.
      3. 9.     Landscaping
        1. It was always given that surrounding hamlets would not be encroached upon. New development and existing settlements should have separate identities rather than being bolted together. Broadclyst Station is an established settlement with a strong sense of community, which it wishes to retain.
        2. The short green buffer is welcomed; we request a green buffer/lane right around the site to demark the two settlements and to prevent coalescence. This should be a natural hedge and will be a prominent feature, nature area, and wildlife zone.
        3. The DPD states: ”although development encroaches into the green wedge to the north of Rockbeare, its location maintains a clear visual separation between Rockbeare and Cranbrook which is the purpose of the green wedge. Strategy 8 in the Local Plan which covers green wedges allows for development where settlement coalescence would not result.”
          Again, there has been no recognition of the established community of Broadclyst Station; we ask that the principles of Strategy 8 be extended to include the western expansion zone.
        4. Retention of Devon banks and hedgerows should be encouraged, and are favoured for landscaping and nature preservation
        5. 10.  Airport noise
          1. Broadclyst Station properties have a great deal of noise from engine testing. Long-term residents accept this as part, but we have concerns on the effect of engine testing on nearby properties. There are regular complaints on Cranbrook’s Facebook page about airport noise; the operation of the airport must not be compromised.


    1. 11.  Ecology and nature conservation
      1. Bats: there are lots of bats in the area, with different bat routes identified in the Sunnyhayes and Station Cottages lane. These must be identified and protected.
      2. Dormice: a survey a few years ago found evidence of dormice. Retention of hedgerows will provide protection and habitat for this protected species and many others.
      3. Birds of prey: there are at least 4 pairs of hunting buzzards working the fields and woodland/hedgerows in the Bluehayes area. Again, we strongly request Devon banks be retained.
        12.  Medical provision
        1. Medical provision at Cranbrook is such that patients are re-registering with Pinhoe and Broadclyst surgery, causing huge demand on a surgery which is already experiencing additional demand from other strategic site developments in Pinhoe and Westclyst.
        2. 13.  District heating system
          1. There has been a catalogue of issuesduring the first few years of operation of the district heating system. Does the system have capacity to meet demands of c.8,000 homes, SkyPark, Hayes farm and Lidl?

    [1] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/consultation-and-pre-decision-matters#Statutory-consultees-on-applications

    [2] Figure taken from EDDC electoral role, does not include those not on the role

    [3] Using the occupancy multiplier for Broadclyst Parish; actual occupancy may be higher as many dwellings are large family homes.

    [4] Arising from the Cranbrook ‘Issues and Options’ document

    [5] As set out in paragraph 80 of the National Planning Policy Framework

    [6] DPD: 3.1

    [7] Figure 2.3 in the DPD

    [8] DPD 2.11

    [9] Broadclyst Neighbourhood Plan community survey

    [10] Figure 2.3 Cranbrook DPD

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