Cranbrook is born

Visitors and pupils take a glimpse at the town’s first school.

The new community of Cranbrook has started to take shape.

The town’s Church of England primary school is under construction - and its first pupils got to have a sneak peak last week.

Local councillors, developers and parents joined them as they donned hard hats to take a glimpse at their new school - St Martin’s - and celebrate the project’s progress.

Housing at Cranbrook, which will one day be as large as Honiton, is expected to attract families from across East Devon.

The primary school hopes to open as early as September and will be the new home for the current pupils of Clyst Honiton Church of England Primary School, as well as children moving to the area.

It will have the capacity for 420 pupils, with an additional 30 places for nursery children.

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The deputy leader of East Devon District Council, Councillor Andrew Moulding, said: “This is fantastic and this is the start.

“A school should be a focal point for any community.

“The community in Cranbrook is about the people and not the buildings.

“The school is going to pull everything together and the houses go around it; so many times we see communities where the houses go in first.”

Cranbrook could boost employment opportunities.

Councillor Moulding added: “It is about homes and jobs for all the young people in Devon and we want them to have the opportunity to stay and live in the area where they grew up.”

The new school building will feature a purpose-built foundation stage unit, a forest school and innovative learning spaces.

The children have already been getting involved with the project and helped to come up with the new school logo. They even set up their own site office in school.

Headteacher of St Martin’s Primary School Tania Beard said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for our children in Clyst Honiton and also for all the children coming to Cranbrook.

“We want to make the school an excellent resource for the whole community.”

St Martin’s will be the first of three new schools in Cranbrook.

Opposite the site will be a multi-purpose community building, providing a location for a doctor’s surgery, town council offices and other public bodies.

The leader of Devon County Council, John Hart, added: “It really is the start of something very exciting for Devon.”