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New town may be ready early with kick-start cash

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 23, 2012

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A long-awaited new Devon town has secured a Government loan to speed up the number of homes that are built.

Cranbrook, near Exeter, was one of four major housing projects to share a £225 million pot of cash, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced.

Earlier this month, the Western Morning News reported how a £20 million loan was on the table.

But Government officials yesterday refused to confirm how much money the development would get from central funding. Cranbrook will eventually see about 6,500 homes built, as well as a new £4.5 million rail station.

Project managers said the money would help complete the project quicker than anticipated.

A £20 million cash injection will increase the number of homes finished each year from 300 to up to 500, they said.

A new primary school is already complete and more than 150 families are expected to have moved in by Christmas.

In a keynote speech on house-building, Mr Clegg said the Government was "intervening" to unblock projects that had stalled – a claim hotly disputed by Cranbrook bosses.

East Devon District Council, Devon County Council, Exeter City Council and private sector group Cranbrook Partners are behind the scheme.

Mike Owen, project manager, said: "It's a strong project which has enjoyed continuous and well-paced work, but this puts us in a strong position to get even more done sooner than we'd hoped."

Councillor Paul Diviani, leader of Conservative-run East Devon District Council, said: "We're very pleased to be in line for the funding which will help bring forward a new high street, secondary school and second primary school for the community."

Conservative councillor Will Mumford, Devon County Council's lead member for the economy, added: "Far from stalling, Cranbrook is going from strength to strength."

East Devon Tory MP Hugo Swire said: "Local people deserve a bright future in a district with a strong economy and an appropriate level of housing."

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