Housing Minister announces 20 million investment during visit to Cranbrook New Community to accelerate building

Date: Thursday 13 December 2012

Mark Prisk MP, Minister of State for Housing will visit the new community of Cranbrook in East Devon today (Thursday 13 December 2012) to see first-hand how a partnership approach to development is reaping impressive results and announced £20 million of investment from Government.

During his visit the Minister will announce a package of support to further accelerate the building of new homes in Cranbrook. This will take the form of a £20 million investment from Government, £6m of which will be used to deliver the roads and infrastructure needed to develop a new town centre, with the remaining funds supporting the construction of a new secondary school and a second primary school as part of the next phase of Cranbrook’s development.

This investment in infrastructure is expected to accelerate the pace of the delivery of new homes from 300 a year to up to 500.

The Minister, a chartered surveyor by profession and who worked in property and economic development before entering politics, is taking a keen interest in the progress that Phase 1 of Cranbrook is making just 18 months after work started.

Confirmation of the funding has been warmly welcomed by partners working to deliver the new community of around 6,500 homes and associated community, education and transport facilities.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said:

“This Government is serious about building more homes. That’s why we have been looking carefully at how we can accelerate large, planned housing schemes that already have the support of local people, but need help to move forward in the current economic climate.

“So I’m delighted that today I can announce our intervention will help unlock the delivery of over 6,000 new homes in Cranbrook, and create thousands of jobs for local people. In the months ahead I will be announcing support for similar schemes. That means more investment, more jobs for our young people and more affordable homes for families across the country.

”We have set aside considerable funding to assist large housing programmes like Cranbrook, and I would urge anyone with similar proposals to come forward and contact my department.”

Mr Prisk will be viewing some of Cranbrook’s show homes, meet some of the first residents, see the first primary school, speak to construction apprentices working on site and meet key partners responsible for the project.

Houses at phase 1 of Cranbrook first went on sale in May this year and demand has been described by the house builders as ‘unprecedented’. The first resident moved in to their new home in July and St. Martin’s Primary School opened in September.

The community benefits from a groundbreaking low-carbon district heating system, new walking and cycling links, will be served by a new railway station, community centre and shops. The development is also enhanced by the creation of a country park and is located in easy distance of new employment sites and major improvements to the road network, such as the Clyst Honiton Bypass and the upgrades to motorway junctions.

East Devon District Council Leader Cllr Paul Diviani said: “We have a unique opportunity here to create Cranbrook’s Town Centre as a shining exemplar of how all town centres can function!

“Currently the Town Centre is a blank canvas; we are not restricted by existing buildings or street formations. With support from Central Government our vision of a town centre that is vibrant, attractive, welcoming, the beating heart of the new community, can become a reality much sooner than previously expected.”

On behalf of the Consortium Partners - Hallam Land, Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey – Mike Owen, project manager for Cranbrook, said:

“We were privileged to give Mark Prisk a tour of the development which gave him an insight into the brand new community being created.

“From the very start the development of Cranbrook has been about partnership and this announcement of funding support for Phase II continues that process. Without this Phase II Cranbrook would have been delayed at the end of Phase I. Instead, we have certainty in the delivery of Phase II, we can move ahead now and commit with confidence to the next key stages of the project and delivering further community infrastructure and bringing forward much needed private and affordable homes. The success of Cranbrook to-date has been underwritten by the amenities and infrastructure that we have been able to provide. In turn this has enabled the creation a real community from day one.”

Cllr Will Mumford, Chair of Exeter and Heart of Devon Growth Board and Cabinet member for Economy, Enterprise and Employment, Devon Council Council said:

“I am delighted that Cranbrook has been recognised for its successful delivery and for the additional funding to enable us to bring Phase 2 forward. This keeps the project momentum going, will secure additional jobs and investment and is a resounding vote of confidence in the partnership approach.”

Colin Molton, HCA Executive Director for the South and South West, said: “The Government has shown its commitment to housing and development as a major route to driving economic growth and we welcome the confidence Ministers have shown in our ability to deliver its key initiatives, supported by new investment.

“It’s welcome news also that Cranbrook is rightly identified as a vanguard project which will help drive economic growth in the South West, by providing the essential investment needed to deliver the second phase of the project. This is a huge opportunity, and I know that our partners will grasp it to maximise delivery of new homes and growth in Exeter and East Devon.”

There are currently 47 households occupied in Phase 1 of Cranbrook. 2013 will see a new bus service take in the new community, the Younghayes Centre open and work begin on the new train station.