High Risk Loan needed says East Devon District Council’s Strategic Planning Committee

    Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 10:05am

    By Joe Ives, Local Democracy Reporter

    East Devon District Council’s strategic planning committee has agreed in principle that the local authority should borrow £40 million to help build Cranbrook’s infrastructure. The money from the Public Works Loan Board, would be used as a ‘revolving’ infrastructure fund – essentially a loan that’s loaned out again. Developers would then invest in improving Cranbrook’s infrastructure as the town grows – whilst saving themselves around £8 million.

    EAST DEVON: £40million council loan progresses

    East Devon District Council’s strategic planning committee has agreed in principle that the local authority should borrow £40 million to help build Cranbrook’s infrastructure.
    The money from the Public Works Loan Board, would be used as a ‘revolving’ infrastructure fund – essentially a loan that’s loaned out again. The council would lend the money to developers who might otherwise be put off by high-interest repayments if they sought loans independently. They would then invest in improving Cranbrook’s infrastructure as the town grows – whilst saving themselves around £8 million.
    The motion was passed nine votes to three and will now go on to cabinet.
    Council officers believe Cranbrook needs to quickly fund an additional primary school, and health and wellbeing provision as well as, potentially, a new special educational needs school and a highway upgrade works on London Road. 
    The council would then recoup the cash on a ‘roof tax’ basis, in essence getting money back for every new home sold as a result of the infrastructure. If the revolving infrastructure fund is successful the council would recover all the money it loans.
    Officers consider the loan high risk but nonetheless recommended it to the committee to be considered in principle. It is feared that the risk of delaying new homes in Cranbrook through lack of infrastructure is greater than the risk of the loan.
    Councillor Jess Bailey (Independent, West Hill and Aylesbeare) expressed concerns, describing the size of the loan as “eye-watering” and questioning why the committee had not received more information on the finer details.
    She said: “I understand that developers may not want to take the risks associated with those very large costs, but do then do the taxpayers want to?”
    Cllr Bailey did not believe the plans were ready to pass onto the next stages of the decision-making process, adding: “It’s like the train’s left the station and is on the tracks and I don’t think it’s ready to leave the station.”
    Cllr Mike Allen (Conservative, Honiton St. Michael’s) also took against the decision, describing the report as “inadequate.”
    For those in favour, the decision was simple: the council has to take out the loan if it is to meet its housing obligations.
    Councillor Mike Howe (Conservative, Clyst Valley) said: “We don’t have a choice. We have to do it, or Cranbrook will once again stall.”
    “This is fundamental to Cranbrook’s expansion and without that Cranbrook expansion our five-year land supply fails – pure and simple.”
    Council leader Paul Arnott (Democratic Alliance Group) said: ”We have a moral and ethical duty to the people of Cranbrook to sort this out”, noting that further details of how the loan would work would be compiled before the matter goes to cabinet.
    Councillor Kevin Blakely, an Independent who represents Cranbrook on the council in a grouping called Cranbrook Voice, backed the proposals. He said: “I honestly feel, as Councillor Howe said, that we don’t have a choice in this.” He recognised the risk but said he believed the council would see its money returned.
    A more detailed report on the revolving infrastructure fund will now go to the cabinet. Any final decision would then have to go through full council.
    Cranbrook currently has approximately 2.350 homes and 5,500 residents. This number would grow by more than 4,000 homes bringing a total of around 18,000 people if plans set out in East Devon local plan and the draft Cranbrook plan go ahead.
    The Cranbrook plan is being examined by an inspector appointed by the secretary of state.  A ruling is expected before the autumn.
     

    More from Local News

    • Football clubs to be offered life saving defibrillators

      During the Euro 2020 football match against Finland, the world looked on in horror after Danish footballer Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsed on the pitch. At just 29 Eriksen had suffered a cardiac arrest and was resuscitated with CPR and a defibrillator before being rushed off to hospital. In 2012, Bolton Wanderers midfielder, Fabrice Muamba also suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed during a football match at the age of 23. Thankfully, both players survived, however it could've been a very different outcome.

    • Have your say on Sidmouth's public toilets

      The residents of Sidmouth are being invited to give their views on proposals that would see either the Market Place or the Port Royal public toilets retained and upgraded but not both.

    • Woman arrested after allegedly assaulting a man in Exeter

      A woman was arrested by Police following an incident in Exeter during the early hours of the morning. Devon and Cornwall Police said officers were called to a residential address at around 2.30am today [August 4] following reports of an assault taking place.

    • Police issue warning to speeding drivers on M5

      Police have issued a warning to drivers about the dangers of speeding after clocking one driver on the M5 at night. Officers from Devon and Cornwall Roads Policing Team tweeted out an image of their speed detection device which noted how a driver was spotted reaching speeds of up to 111mph on the M5 near Cullompton.

    • £40 million loan progresses

      East Devon Council cabinet has made an in-principle agreement to borrow up to £40million to help developers build much-needed infrastructure in Cranbrook.

    • Police appeal for information following Exmouth car crash

      Police are appealing for information following a car crash in Exmouth that left three people with suspected serious injuries. The three-vehicle collision happened in Exeter Road at around 6.45pm on Saturday 31st July.

    • Ambulance Services plea to callers

      The Ambulance Service has issued a desperate plea to the public, urging them to only call 999 for life-threatening emergencies. The warning comes after the service says it is currently experiencing 'extremely high demand'.

    • New parking rules at R D & E Wonford

      ANPR cameras are to be introduced at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital which will mean patients and visitors will have to pay on exit rather than arrival

    Schedule

    Tide Times

    Today's Weather

    • Exmouth

      Light rain

      High: 19°C | Low: 13°C

    • Sidmouth

      Light rain shower

      High: 19°C | Low: 14°C

    • Exeter

      Sunny intervals

      High: 20°C | Low: 14°C

    • Dawlish

      Light rain

      High: 19°C | Low: 15°C

    What's On

    • Sidmouth Folk Festival

      Organisers of The Sidmouth Folk Festival aim to put on a week of music, dance and family entertainment this summer. Billed as A Celebration of Sidmouth Folk Festival, the event from July 30 until August 6, will be an ‘authentic taste’ of the traditional event. John Braithwaite, festival director, said: “We are looking forward to this special celebration, as we thank everyone who helped the festival survive last year’s cancellation and to secure its future.

      at Blackmore Gardens
    • Exmouth Country Market - 8.30 til 11.30am

      Cooperative market selling cakes, meals, savouries, preserves, eggs, plants, crafts, vegetables and fruit. All home made and locally produced

      at The Glenorchy Hall
    • An Adorably Curious Adventure

      Are you curious? Do you like adventures? Then get ready to explore The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon with this fun family activity trail. Feed your curiosity and discover all things adorable with a donkey adventure like no other. Simply find the A-Z of fun donkey facts around the sanctuary and complete the trail activities as you go to claim a prize and sticker. The adventure is split into two parts – one short trail and one a little longer. For the first part, locate eight donkey facts around the main sanctuary and find the hidden letters to complete the missing word. Why let the fun stop there? For the super inquisitive and serious explorers among you, follow the trail around the sanctuary’s wider walkways to complete the second part of the adventure (optional), finding 18 more hidden letters to complete the missing phrase. This entertaining activity combines family fun, exercise and brainpower and is just £5 per trail, including the prize and sticker. Head to The Shed to pick up a trail sheet and away you go on your adventure. Plus with daily talks, scenic walks, engaging exhibits, award-winning gardens and, of course, hundreds of adorable donkeys to meet, there’s so much to explore with your own herd, whatever the weather. Take sanctuary in the Taste of the West award-winning restaurant, The Kitchen, and enjoy fresh, local, seasonal produce while soaking in the unparalleled coast and country views. Breakfasts, lunches and tempting afternoon treats are served daily, with every penny of profit helping donkeys and mules around the world. Before heading home, browse the Gift Shop at leisure in the knowledge that every purchase goes towards helping donkeys in need. Packed with unique donkey-design items and souvenirs, you will find something for everyone. Make the day your own, but above all else, fall in love with the herds of donkeys. From humble beginnings as a UK rescue mission over 50 years ago, The Donkey Sanctuary has grown into one of the world’s largest equine welfare charities. The sanctuary is open 7 days a week, from 9am to 5pm. Entry and parking is FREE (donations welcome), and dogs on leads are welcome. A range of safety measures are in place to protect visitors, staff, volunteers and donkeys, and full details on visiting can be found on The Donkey Sanctuary website. Further information www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/sidmouth | 01395 578222 | enquiries@thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk All proceeds help fund the work of The Donkey Sanctuary Worldwide.

      at The Donkey Sanctuary