Don't miss a story sign up to Exmouth Journal's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Waitrose in secret talks

12:18 26 February 2013

A view of the Exmouth bus station. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 8513-08-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24.

A view of the Exmouth bus station. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 8513-08-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24.

Archant

Supermarket giant Waitrose is in secret talks with the county council about acquiring its bus depot for a new store.

But if the plans go ahead, it could sink East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) masterplan and its hopes of regenerating Exmouth.

The district council has already earmarked the nearby rugby ground, which it owns, for sale to a superstore, with the funds going towards the town’s facelift.

The Journal has learned agents acting for Waitrose are negotiating with the county’s property representatives NPS - and preliminary proposals could be filed within a month.

A county council spokesman confirmed that NPS ‘had been approached by a development company, regarding the future of the land if Stagecoach were to vacate’.

A Waitrose spokesman said: “We’re often linked to potential sites and, although we have no plans at this moment in time, we are keen to increase our presence in the South West and in Exmouth.”

Meanwhile, district chiefs are hoping to start a supermarket tendering process for a ‘preferred bidder’ for the rugby ground by early next year. The rugby club would move to the Rolle Playing Fields as part of the deal.

The district council said this week the Exmouth Masterplan was ‘not primarily concerned’ with where best to put a food store - but how best to regenerate Exmouth town centre.

In response to the interest from Waitrose, a district council spokesman said: “Interest is shown in sites all the time and applications are regularly put forward.

“But if it was pursued (the Waitrose plans), it would be hard to see how this would deliver the regeneration ambitions for Exmouth as approved by the town, district and county councils.”

The rugby ground is categorised by the Environment Agency (EA) as being at a ‘high risk’ of flooding.

Before EDDC can ‘promote’ the ground for a food store, the Environment Agency says a vital two-stage flood test must be carried out.

The first would determine if any lower risk sites are available nearby – and district chiefs say this will begin within a month.

If lesser-risk sites are not available to the district council, a second ‘exception test’ judged by environment chiefs would be needed.

The bus depot is on higher ground and at less of a risk of flooding – The Journal understands that Waitrose would not want to develop the rugby ground because of the high cost of new flood defences.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “They (EDDC) would have to demonstrate that the economic benefits outweighed the flood risks and that the area (rugby ground) was safe.”

The spokesman said if the test failed, the the district council could choose to ignore the Environment Agency’s recommendations.

“But if it went to judicial review, they (EDDC) would be on the back foot,” he said.

1 comment

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 16:48

Amended plans for an M&S food store on the site of Exmouth Bus Station have been backed by Exmouth Town Council.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:12

A motorcyclist from Exmouth has told a jury it is impossible he caused the death of his pillion passenger because he is such an experienced rider.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:59

A former barman has been cleared of taking part in a £80,000 drug trafficking operation

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30
Children in Red Class at Drakes primary school enjoyed a visit by Ken and Jill Beagley from the Armchair Puppet Theatre this week. The youngsters made their own puppets then performed a show for their classmates. Ref exb 2997-04-16SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A visit by Devon-based puppeteers to Drake’s Primary School has been hailed a huge success.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30
Ashley Haines and Ronnie Norman of Plantbased at their opening with Roger Bourgein. Ref exe 05-16TI 0243. Picture: Terry Ife

A new – and radically different – café opened earlier this week in Exmouth’s High Street.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:58
Bartek Golonko, winner of the Royal Mail’s Young Letter Writer of the Year Competition for the South West region.

A young writer from Exmouth Community College is celebrating after winning a South West competition.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:49
Image of the proposed redevelopment of Exmouth's Q Club, submitted to East Devon District Council.

Plans to demolish an Exmouth nightclub and replace it with flats have been supported by Exmouth Town Council.

Read more
Mon, 16:30
Claire and Tarot Close

An Exmouth couple, who have run a small business in the town for three years, have claimed an ability to celebrate each other’s achievement is the reason for their success.

Read more
Mon, 15:15
A rare  Baird’s Sandpiper landing  at Seaton Wetlands. Picture: SUE SMITH

Action-packed programme of outdoor activities

Read more
Mon, 15:06
Leon Butt.

A drug dealer from Topsham has been jailed for almost 10 years.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 5°C

min temp: 4°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications