This report provides an update on progress with negotiations with the East Devon New Community partners over the delivery of Cranbrook Town Centre. Following discussions at Strategic Planning Committee and further discussions with the developers there remains two options for Members to consider.
Councillor Matt Osborn from Cranbrook Town Council (CTC) stated the town council had undertaken a large amount of community involvement for CTC for the delivery of the town centre, with a large response of the adult population in favour of the delivery proposal put forward. CTC were unanimous in their support for this proposal as residents of Cranbrook themselves and had accepted the changes put forward by officers and the planning committee. He stated that Cranbrook would pay the price if the start of the delivery of this project for the community was delayed even further.
The Service Lead Planning Strategy and Development Management provided an update on progress with negotiations with the East Devon New Community partners over the delivery of Cranbrook Town Centre. Following discussions at Strategic Planning Committee and further discussions with the developers there remained two options for Members to consider. The first was the developers offer to deliver a
commercially led town centre focused around a Morrison’s supermarket and bringing forward the delivery of a number of community facilities that were required to be delivered later in the build out of the town under the Section 106 agreement. However due to claimed viability issues this option lead to an overall shortfall in infrastructure and affordable housing when considered against policy requirements. This option would however lead to the delivery of at least part of the town centre over the next few years and a clear path for the delivery of a fit for purpose town centre in the future through council investment.
The alternative option was to progress a supplementary planning document for the town centre to try and encourage development and proactively develop the town centre as a Council with the likely need to use compulsory purchase powers and an even greater council investment to deliver the town centre. This option was likely to lead to a significant delay of any delivery in the town centre beyond the basic Section 106 requirements and the loss of the proposed Morrison’s supermarket investment.
During discussions it was stated that this was the time to make a positive decision and accept the proposal and get the project underway. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding would be significant for EDDC and Cranbrook Town Council and its residents. There was now a broad agreement to the proposals and this was good for the residents of Cranbrook. Members were proud to have provided homes that allowed young people to get on the property ladder, with the newly built Primary School soon filling up with children shortly after its completion.
Cabinet wished to thank officers, the three ward members, the town council and the Cranbrook Strategic Delivery Board who had fought tirelessly for the town and their community to get to the position they were now through considerable negotiations. Thanks was also given to the Portfolio Holder Strategic Planning and officers for their contribution in getting a better offer on the table.
RESOLVED that Cabinet agree the following revised recommendations:
1. Agree the updated offer from the East Devon New Community Partners (EDNCp) and note progress on the proposed Cranbrook Town Centre Supplementary Planning Document and funding options for its delivery.
2. Agree the bullet pointed principles highlighted in the conclusion to the report and agree in principle to the Memorandum of Understanding now proposed by the EDNCp and delegate authority to the Chief Executive and Portfolio Holder Strategic Planning to sign the final MOU on behalf of the Council.
3. To put on hold the Supplementary Planning Document for the Town Centre to guide development in the town centre until the signing of the final MOU has been undertaken.
To provide clarity to the EDNCp over the acceptability of their proposals and direct a clear route to the delivery of a town centre at Cranbrook.