Building work on East Devon's newest town set to begin

BUILDING work on a new 2,900-home town north of Rockbeare could begin this year.

BUILDING work on a new 2,900-home town north of Rockbeare could begin this year.

Despite falling property prices and a slump in the construction industry, basic infrastructure work the new Cranbrook community could start by the summer.

Hallam Land Management and developers Taylor-Wimpey, Persimmon Homes and Redrow Homes say that they are 'encouraged' by talks with East Devon District Council, Devon County Council, the Growth Point Board - set up to oversee the development - and the Regional Development Agency.

They say 'a successful conclusion' to the talks could see work on infrastructure start - with new homes starting to be built in 2010.

Nick Duckworth of Hallam Land said: "If the current positive and constructive approach is maintained by all parties we should reach agreement in the very near future and we will be delighted to see this major scheme move forward even against a back-drop of this very challenging period."

Simon Perks, Managing Director of Persimmon Homes, remarked: "It is testimony to the commitment of all parties that a way through is close to being found. We are pleased too that development remains comprehensive and will deliver all of the elements of the planning package including, schools, affordable housing, and public open space, the neighbourhood and town centres."

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Primary work will include the Clyst Honiton by-pass, access to a new station, and possibly even a community centre, a temporary doctor's surgery, a primary school and shops.

A spokesman for Growth Point Board said: "At the heart of the discussions ...has been the desire to ensure that the development agreement... remains intact...

"...and that none of the key elements...from affordable housing to sustainability are lost as a result of the current difficult economic looks more than likely that this objective will be achieved."

Councillor Humphrey Temperley, Chair of Exeter and East Devon New Growth Point Board added: "The delivery of early-day infrastructure would allow these complementary projects East of Exeter to proceed on schedule.

"This progress is testement to the determination of all parties on the Board to delvier a holistic vision for Exeter and East Devon, which incudes not just the delivery of the new community, but a well connected, self sufficient new community together with skilled employment opportunities.