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

06:30

Fairy magic caught the imagination of youngsters as they searched around a trail for miniature doors hidden around Phear Park.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30

District council bosses have made a U-turn on a decision to not replace a seat at a Budleigh Salterton bus shelter.

Read more
Fri, 15:45
Branscombe primary school children were among other local school's who scooped a prize in the school's garden competition presented by Lady Cave and organised by Sidmouth Rotary. Ref shb 28-16SH 2067. Picture: Simon Horn.

Branscombe Primary School pupils are among the winners of a gardening competition.

Read more
Fri, 15:11
Dinosaurs in Manor Gardens. Ref exe 29-16TI 4617. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth’s dinosaur invasion is spreading fast, with the prehistoric creatures now popping up at the Manor Gardens and on the seafront.

Read more
Fri, 12:30
Cyclists from CDE raised £4,000 for FORCE

A group of cyclists from Clinton Devon Estates (CDE)have raised more than £4,000 for FORCE cancer charity, writes Daniel Wilkins.

Read more
Fri, 12:18
car driving fast into forest.

Exmouth’s chairman of the Chamber of Commerce has followed business leaders in calling for Devon County Council to go ahead with proposals to expand the A303 at Monkton, near Honiton.

Read more
Fri, 10:51

Conservatives have achieved a double success at by-elections held in Littleham on Thursday.

Read more
Fri, 06:30
St John's Court

An application to have an under-threat mental health facility declared a community asset has been rejected by the district council.

Read more
Thu, 15:12
Stegosaurus model on display in the Strand.

The first model dinosaurs from a new project to promote the Jurassic Coast are appearing in the centre of Exmouth.

Read more
Thu, 15:09

Exmouth Community Larder has thanked the town supermarkets who support the service.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 16°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

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications