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Councillor Barry Rogers of Cranbrook Town Council spoke about weighing up the two propositions; delivery now with a known end delivery date, or the alternative that had no clear timescale. He advised the committee that the local residents wanted delivery now, which would allow residents to have facilities close enough to walk to, embracing the ethos of active lives in the town. He stated that there was no appetite for a hotel, and business units were available at the nearly Skypark, therefore not required in the town. He felt that leisure centres were unviable. He was not confident that the District Council could deliver and urged the committee to support the proposal from the East Devon New Community Partners (EDNCp).
Councillor Ray Bloxham, Devon County Councillor and Member of Cranbrook Strategic Delivery Board spoke about recent positive discussion between the County Council and the EDNCp that delivered additional funding to the design work; and how not moving forward now jeopardised local projects to deliver youth services. He reminded the committee of how the fabric of high streets had changed dramatically in recent years, and they had to be mindful of the local economy and the close proximity by train to Exeter’s offer. He made reference to a county report comparing the two options and asked that, to move forward, the proposals of the EDNCp would boost the town. Not accepting the proposals would be detrimental to the morale of the residents.
Mr Peter Healey, a resident of Cranbrook, had submitted a statement read out on his behalf by the Democratic Services Officer, which stated:
“I strongly urge councillors and planners to take the longer-term view when deciding between the two options for the development of Cranbrook Town Centre.
To my mind, the polls undertaken by Cranbrook Town Council (CTC) and the East Devon New Community Partners (EDNCp) are invalid, because…
1. The polls were taken before people have had a chance to see any details of the proposed Cranbrook Town Centre master plan SPD, and before the EDNCp plan was finalised. Indeed, the Cranbrook Town Centre report has only just been made publicly available.
2. The wording of the CTC poll was heavily biased towards supporting the short-term EDNCp view. It was suggested that the alternative might be no town centre, or supermarket, for many years.
3. We were led to believe that Morrison’s would pull out if the EDNCp proposal was not accepted, whereas it now appears that it is the EDNCp who would cause this to happen (see sections 13.2 and 15.2 of the Cranbrook Town Centre report).
4. The polls were on-line and therefore open to abuse.
There appears to be an unhealthy rush, by some, to get the EDNCp proposal accepted before it can be properly scrutinised and before the alternative proposals by EDDC are heard. The outcome of the Cranbrook DPD examination process could also have important bearing (see section 8.4).
The EDNCp proposal is short-term, profit driven, and significantly reduces the options for future ... view the full minutes text for item 84.
Declarations of interest
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Councillor Kevin Blakey – personal interest – Member of Cranbrook Town Council; Chairman of the Cranbrook Strategic Delivery Board; and has attended multiple meetings with developers and others since 2015.
Councillor Sarah Chamberlain – personal interest – owns a smallholding at Broadclyst Station on the edge of Cranbrook.
Councillor Paul Hayward – personal interest – daughter resides in Cranbrook.
Councillor Mike Howe – personal interest – owner of retail village store in Clyst St Mary and previous director of a retail outlet.
Councillor Dan Ledger – personal interest – Member of Cranbrook Strategic Delivery Board.
Councillor Eleanor Rylance – personal interest – representing parish of Broadclyst and former Ward Member for Cranbrook.
Councillor Kay Bloxham – personal interest - Member of Cranbrook Town Council; Member of the Cranbrook Strategic Delivery Board; and has attended multiple meetings with developers and others.
Councillor Sam Hawkins - personal interest - Member of Cranbrook Town Council; Member of the Cranbrook Strategic Delivery Board; and has attended multiple meetings with developers and others.
Matters of urgency
Information on matters of urgency is available online
There were no matters of urgency.
To agree any items to be dealt with after the public (including the Press) have been excluded. Thereare no itemswhich officersrecommendshould be dealtwithin thisway.
There were no items under this designation.
The committee had before them a report outlining the background to Cranbrook Town Centre, and two options for its delivery:
· A commercially led approach, presented by the East Devon New Community Partners (EDNCp);
· A Cranbrook Town Centre Masterplan SPD that seeks to reflect the original vision for the town centre.
The Service Lead for Planning Strategy and Development Management outlined some key elements of his extensive report, and asked the committee to consider the following questions in their consideration of the offer from the EDNCp:
· Does it deliver a town centre to the requirements that have been agreed by the Council?
· If not, are there sufficient grounds to depart from policy?
· What if any harm would arise from the EDNCp offer?
· Are the Supplementary Planning Document proposals significantly better and are they achieveable?
He outlined the recommendations in the report, which permitted a twin track approach of both starting to develop an SPD whilst being open to continued negotiations with the EDNCp.
Questions and comments by members outside of the committee
Cranbrook ward member Councillor Kim Bloxham strongly expressed the need of the residents, made clear through consultation, to deliver the facilities long awaited. She reminded the committee of the protracted negotiations over several years, still with no resolution to a positive way forward and the delivery of a town centre and its facilities. She stressed that local residents were totally disillusioned with the approach of the District Council and felt that they were not part of East Devon. She accepted that the EDNCp proposals were not perfect, but she supported local residents in wanting their option to be agreed, and urged the committee to reject the SPD proposal.
Cranbrook ward member Councillor Sam Hawkins challenged the statement in the report that the Council has the ability to invest in the delivery of Cranbrook. He felt that there had been no willingness to invest, with one example being the country park being funded by the local community. He too referenced the local opinion being that Cranbrook did not feel that it was part of East Devon only the cash cow of the district. Exeter have nearly completed a new leisure centre accessible by residents by train in 9 minutes, so one is not needed in the centre of town; the SANGS requirements for the district has been covered by Cranbrook’s s106 provision. He felt that the timescale of the SPD was unrealistic, based on previous experience. There was little commercial benefit for any retailers to come to Cranbrook when so much is available at Exeter. Any delay in delivering a town centre now only wastes the benefit of the Enterprise Zone designation and the retention of business rates possible until 2022. He likened the issue to the West Lothian question.
Other key points made by members outside of the committee included:
· Improving building standards;
· Care with gaining assurances relating to the District heat network;
· Leisure facilities key for the town’s youthful community.
The Chairman then ... view the full minutes text for item 88.