Devon County Council has applied for outline planning permission for a new community building for Cranbrook town centre.
The proposed building, which would be located near the junction of Tillhouse Road and Cranford Lane, includes a children’s centre with public health nursing provision, a youth centre with indoor and outdoor recreational spaces and a library with a small café.
It will be designed flexibly to host a range of Devon County Council services and to adapt to future changes in service provision.
Its location means it will be a five minute walk from the only community building so far provided in the town centre, The Cranberry Farm public house near the London Road roundabout.
However a Morrisons supermarket is expected to become the anchor tenant of the undeveloped town centre site.
As new housing has been built in Cranbrook, rising occupancy levels have meant that some community facilities have become needed sooner than expected.
The town reached 2,000 home occupations last year, compelling the Cranbrook developers consortium to construct the children’s centre facilities required by the town planning agreement no later than June 2021.
The agreement also requires the consortium to provide town council offices in the new centre by June 2021, as well as youth facilities and a library when the the number of homes occupied reaches 3,450, although that is not expected to happen until 2025.
However Devon County Council renegotiated the agreement last autumn to deliver town centre facilities sooner than originally planned.
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, the county cabinet member with responsibility for economy and skills, said: “The existing agreement is for these key services – the library, youth and a children’s centre facilities – to be built over the next two to six years.
“But as the town is continuing to grow, especially noting the high proportion of families with young children and need for additional support, we must bring them forward.
“We believe that our proposed integrated community facilities building in Cranbrook’s town centre is the best way to provide these required facilities.
“It would allow residents to benefit sooner, and give us greater control over the design and delivery of the facilities.”
A statement accompanying the application says: “The proposed building is currently in the early stages of design. It is anticipated that the majority building frontage will be placed to the west of the plot and at the back of the public footway to create an active street frontage, allowing direct access from Tillhouse Road for pedestrians.”
The application is in outline form, so a further application for the detail and the design of the building will be required.
East Devon District Council, the planning authority for Cranbrook, will determine the application at a later date.
Presuming permission is granted, the building will be available for community use in 2021.