A younger, hotter Cranbrook (and it’s not us)

Another town joins the fine family of Cranbrooks around the world.

The newest addition to the fine family of Cranbrook towns will look something like this.

There are plenty of Cranbrooks out there – but the newest one to be added to the world map is one to watch.

That’s right, Cranbrook has a new family member, this time in Devonshire, England. The new town will be a low carbon community.

The location is strategic — it’s far enough away from other towns to be its own entity, but close enough that residents can commute. But the new Cranbrook has many of its own offerings to draw in families and residents of all sorts.

The new community already has a school, named St. Marten’s. Local historian Dave Humphrey – and when we say local we mean Cranbrook, B.C. local – has already been in touch with the school there to see if a relationship can be built between the Cranbrooks, young and old.

The new Cranbrook has an advantage as cities around the world work to become carbon neutral and more environmentally friendly: new Cranbrook got the chance to start from scratch, and thus has been creating a community that reduces resource use and limits carbon emissions.

“This has been an enormous challenge for the local authorities and developers of Cranbrook, to create a sustainable, vibrant and attractive new town from scratch,” the town’s website says.

One of the most exciting and far-out features of the new town is a community heating feature to be powered by biomass fuel. It is currently under construction.

“This scheme will serve the whole community at Cranbrook and would mean reduced energy bills and hot water always available,” the community’s website reads. Could you imagine fighting with your Cranbrook neighbour for hot shower water in the morning? The residents of the Devonian Cranbrook may do just that when they take their place in one of the thousands of homes being constructed. The community claims it will be the first development in the country to offer the feature on such a large scale.

The first families moved into the town last fall. The town was built with community buildings being put in place as soon as possible, before many of the residents take possession of their homes. That way new residents have access to social, government and recreation facilities right off the bat. One of the first buildings to pop up was the multi-purpose building.

One of the challenges of building the new Cranbrook was to keep the region’s historic character in tact. The developers had to balance the needs of a 21st century resident while continuing the feel of a historic market town.

“The development of a free standing new settlement has not been attempted in Devon since the Middle Ages,” the website reads. “Devon towns of the Middle Ages have evolved organically over almost a millennium into successful service centres. Their rich fabric of buildings and infrastructure reflects the collective wealth of their social and political history, but moreover they are quintessentially Devonian.”

The seat of government is not in Cranbrook, but council duties are conducted in nearby East Devon. They reported on January 16 that developers are working on 400 new homes, and all but five have been sold.

For more information on the new Cranbrook, visit the community’s website at www.cranbrook-devon.com.

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