A TESCO-franchised car wash, proposed for the supermarket’s Salterton Road store, could add to congestion for shoppers it has been claimed.

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And there are fears it could put independent car washes in Exmouth out of business.

Town councillors on Monday voted not to back plans to convert nine spaces in the existing car park into a hand car wash.

Instead they urged the supermarket giant to “hurry up” with plans – first mooted over five years ago – to extend the store by a third.

The plans call for a change of use of nine parking spaces to a hand car wash and valeting operation, including the erection of a canopy and office.

The spaces are to the left and at a right angle to the existing recycling depot, running parallel to the exit road from the store on to the Salterton Road.

Councillor Malcolm Mitchell said: “This would be adjacent with the recycling depot.

“The recycling area is already situated on the wrong side of the road and having a car wash next to it is going to exacerbate the problem and add to congestion.”

Tesco bosses say the plans would create “new and sustainable” economic growth in the area. The design statement also says it would have a “positive impact” on local jobs and create an estimated four full-time and four part-time jobs while adding to consumer choice.

But town councillors say the opposite – they say it would wreck existing businesses for the sake of expanding the Tesco empire.

Councillor Maddie Chapman said: “I object to this. There are car wash businesses in the town who are struggling and I don’t see why they should need a car wash.

“They are a superstore and there is no need for this.”

Councillor Richard Turner said: “Tesco are just trying to make inroads into this business and would prevent people from working in the town.”

The final decision will be made by district planners.

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