Aldi: 'Topsham traders can rise to the challenge'

PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 November 2015

Archant

Geoff Bowen, owner of Pebblebed Vineyards, is urging traders to rise to the challenge of a new Aldi supermarket, when it arrives in Topsham.

He believes the town can compete with the supermarket giant.

The entrepreneur is encouraging businesses to offer something unique to draw in trade.

Geoff said: “Big change is coming to Topsham with the plans for a new Aldi store, but you have to accept change – you can’t just sit and complain.

“Topsham can compete with the supermarkets in other ways. For example, supermarkets can’t show people around their own vineyards.

“Supermarkets also can’t make their own jewellery as my wife, Anna, does. She only opened her shop, the Bird Cage, a few months ago and it’s going really well.

“We have both always had that entrepreneurial spirit.”

An Aldi food store is to be built on the south of the Exeter Road, after receiving the backing of Exeter City Council (ECC).

The decision on the proposals was deferred earlier this year to give the council more time to get all the information.

The city council’s planning committee voted in favour of the project by six votes to five, in July.

During the consultation, ECC received 245 responses, with 111 in favour and 134 against.

Those in favour of the proposals suggested the supermarket would create better choice and more jobs.

People against the plans cited a loss of Topsham’s identity and increased traffic as reasons for their opposition.

The 1,600-acre site next to the town’s rugby club will offer a 98-space car park and will create 40 full and part-time jobs.

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