Devon

Cranbrook eco-town: New £5m station opens

Maynard School band playing at the opening of Cranbrook station Image copyright Still Imaging
Image caption The Maynard School band performed at the opening of Cranbrook railway station on Sunday

A £5m railway station has opened for the first time in a new eco-community in Devon.

The single platform at Cranbrook Station, funded by Devon County Council and Cranbrook New Community Partners, will serve almost 3000 residents.

Hourly services will run on the existing Exeter to London Waterloo line, providing new links to Exeter, Salisbury and Basingstoke.

Councillor Paul Diviani said the station was "a game changer".

The leader for East Devon District Council said: "There are now a wide range of sustainable travel options for Cranbrook residents and the opening of the train station means another very welcome green travel option is available."

Image copyright Still Imaging
Image caption Cranbrook is located to the east of Exeter

Climate change

The project, which has sought to address housing needs in East Devon, is one of a number of environmentally-friendly settlements to be built in England.

The town is powered by an energy plant which will eventually run on sustainable wood fuel, and the scheme seeks to encourage commuters to opt for public rather than private transport.

However, the campaign group Friends of the Earth in Exeter has criticised the rural development, claiming that residents will continue to travel to work by car.

Planning approval for the new town was granted in October 2010 and there are now 1,200 households, a figure which is expected to grow to 8,000 over the next 10 to 20 years.

Cranbrook also has two schools and a community centre, with plans for further development.

The station was delivered by Network Rail and services will be operated by South West Trains.

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