First residents move into Cranbrook’s affordable homes
Date: 18 December 2012
With Christmas approaching, the first residents at the new East Devon community of Cranbrook are settling into their new homes.
Twelve of Sovereign Housing Association’s affordable homes have been occupied by people from the local area, with more due to be handed over in the New Year.
One family who are enjoying their new surroundings is Martin Park and Vicky Lovell, and their children, Jack, aged four and nine-month-old Annabella. They moved into their new two-bedroom house in mid-November.
Vicky, 27, said: “I think it’s going to be amazing – there will be the new train station, and a new town centre. There’s a lot of interest – people are always driving down to take a look.”
Cranbrook will eventually be home to around 6,500 households and boast two primary schools, a secondary school, a community centre, doctors’ surgery and excellent transport facilities.
The first phase of construction will consist of 1,120 dwellings, 328 of which will be for affordable housing, whether social rent or affordable home ownership. These homes, which will be allocated equally between Sovereign and Devon and Cornwall Housing, will benefit from £15.6m in investment from the Homes and Communities Agency.
All of the affordable homes will be occupied by local people; under an agreement, 65 per cent of these homes will be allocated to applicants with a local connection to East Devon and 35 per cent to applicants with a local connection to Exeter.
Vicky and Martin had previously been living with Vicky’s parents and then in a private rental house in Ottery St Mary, which suffered from damp.
“We feel much more secure here. We are very impressed with our house. It’s a good size for a new build and has a decent sized garden,” Martin, aged 26, said.
“Jack’s looking forward to starting at the new primary school in September and we’re all going to watch the nativity play there,” he added.
Martin works as a poultry flocksman at a farm eight miles from Cranbrook. Vicky has just returned to work part time in the office of a small family firm. Vicky has always lived in East Devon, mainly in Ottery St Mary. Martin moved to Exmouth from London in 2003 to live with his grandmother. They had been on the East Devon housing waiting list for about a year and a half.
“We went on the Devon Home Choice website - we had heard that they were building new homes there and we applied for a property. The whole process was very quick,” Martin said.
A Sovereign housing officer carried out a pre-tenancy assessment which checked their finances and made sure they had a strong local connection, and they moved in four weeks later.