Bike-use integral to Devon's first free-standing settlement in centuries...

The first free-standing settlement to be built in Devon since the Middle Ages will feature an integral network of cycle lanes and other sustainable travel options.

Cranbrook, a £100m low carbon community will be built in East Devon now that it has received planning permission, reports Insider Media.

Situated on the outskirts of Exeter, the community will have 2,900 homes in addition to schools, a community centre, an energy plant and a library. The developers include Hallam Land Management, Redrow, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon Homes, with construction slated to start in early 2010.

“Cranbrook will be a unique development and we are confident that the planning package achieves the right balance of ingredients to ensure a successful and vibrant new community,” said Persimmon Homes managing director Simon Perks.

As a large scale low carbon development, Cranbrook will provide combined heat and power district heating to all residents, using an ‘energy centre’ to supply the pipe network.

A mix of private and public sector finance will finance the development including £6m of Growth Point Funding and £12m from the South West RDA’s Regional Infrastructure Fund.

Additional funding is coming from the Department of Transport’s Major Scheme Bid, to go towards the improvements at Junction 29 of the M5. A further £3.6m of grant funding has come from the HCA’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Fund. The £20m ‘energy centre’ for the scheme is being provided by E.ON.

Cranbrook will include a bus route to and from Exeter, a multi-purpose building which will be home to the first library and community facilities until the town centre is built, two primary schools, a secondary school, a new railway station on the Exeter to Waterloo line and a country park.

Cranbrook is being built close to Exeter Science Park and the Skypark business district. East Devon District Council believes hopes this will encourage residents to use other modes of transport, such as the bus, train or bike in preference to the car.

East Devon District Council leader Sara Randall Johnson said: “There will be a network of sustainable transport options built into the design for the new community: including cycling routes and bus stops located no more than a few minutes walking distance from each dwelling.

“We want to encourage the new community to quickly develop its own sense of place and to become a splendid addition to the existing market towns of East Devon and a worthy neighbour to the nearby City of Exeter”.