CRANBROOK residents have expressed disappointment at delays to the opening of the new community’s railway station.
A new halt on the Exeter to London Waterloo line is due to be built, with trains stopping every 30 minutes at peak times.
Until recently a hoarding at the site proclaimed that the new station would open this year. Welcome packs given to new residents by developers also stated: “The train station is anticipated to be opening in 2013.”
The Cranbrook Travel Plan website currently tells visitors: “The train station is anticipated to be opening in 2014.”
But it has now emerged that the first trains will not be calling at the new town near Exeter Airport until 2015.
Susannah Patrick, whose young family are among around 600 people now living at Cranbrook, said: “We are all waiting for the train station and a shop to open, so there’s a bit of impatience. Originally it was due to be summer 2013, now it’s not due to serve Cranbrook until 2015. It’s come as a bit of a blow and there’s an understandable amount of confusion.
“There’s no bus service on a Sunday and it’s expensive anyway, so if you’re a parent with children you can spend £20 just getting to Exeter and back.
“Cranbrook is a really nice place to live – it’s going to be brilliant when we have the station.”
A progress report to East Devon District Council’s cabinet states: “Reserved matters planning consents were granted for the detailed design of the railway station for Cranbrook in 2012. It is expected that the railway station will be completed in 2014, ready to provide services into Exeter from Cranbrook in 2015.”
Andy Wood, projects director for the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point, confirmed the new timetable had been agreed with South West Trains, adding that preparatory works were starting on site.
“It’s not an easy thing to deliver a new station and we are very keen to manage expectations,” he said. “We are unusual in that we have plans for not just one but three new stations in the Exeter area. The county council are willing to rise to the challenge and have now secured the funding package, however it does involve dealing with Network Rail, which can be quite complicated.”
More than 250 homes have so far been completed at Cranbrook and developers expect 500 households to be living there by Christmas.
Some residents have also questioned why the Clyst Honiton bypass has yet to open when construction work appeared to be finished some time ago. Mr Wood said there had been a slight delay in commissioning the lights in the tunnel, which are now operational, and he hoped the road would open in the next two weeks after a final safety audit is completed.