ASDA store on the agenda

PUBLISHED: 15:28 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:48 10 June 2010

Large numbers are expected to attend Exmouth Community Association's focus session on Wednesday, February 6, 7pm-9.30pm in the Telfer Suite at the community college, Gypsy Lane. Members, prospective members, and nominated members of 50 other groups have

Large numbers are expected to attend Exmouth Community Association's focus session on Wednesday, February 6, 7pm-9.30pm in the Telfer Suite at the community college, Gypsy Lane.Members, prospective members, and nominated members of 50 other groups have been invited to hear updates on a number of issues and, in particular, the future of Rolle, pedestrians and transport, and the ASM/Asda development.The supermarket and implications for Elizabeth Hall, the library and the visitor centre will also be on the agenda.The largest part of the evening is for general discussion.The association's attitude continues to be positive and we welcome the debate, which will indicate the views and wishes of our members as well as the views and ideas from other organisations. We consider it is essential decisions are made after public meetings involving East Devon District Council and the ASM/Asda developers at which the people are suitably informed, and, more importantly, listened to. Marian Scott,Publicity Officer,Exmouth Community Association.WE DON'T WANT IDENTIKIT MALLSWe are dismayed by the prospect of a major superstore development on the estuary. The main assets of Exmouth are its seaside location, extensive beaches and sea sports potential. It is a family-friendly resort with a relaxed shopping area, where a substantial number of businesses are still in private hands. This gives it a different feel to the identikit shopping malls of so many towns. We believe that this character should be enhanced not diminished. Exmouth also has the dual attractions of being the western gateway to the world heritage Jurassic Coast and of standing at the eastern head of the Exe Estuary, a renowned haven for migrating birds. At a time when we are all awakening to the ecological disasters of climate change, and the damage being done by CO2 emissions, Exmouth should seek to attract sustainable businesses which enhance her potential rather than ones which will add to the problems. We would welcome an investigation of the possible development of an extended London Inn/Magnolia site, where linked shopping could become a reality and not a pipe dream. This could have possibilities like:1. A medium-sized food store provided by a firm such as Marks and Spencer, Waitrose or the Co-op. 2. The development of a market hall like the pannier market in Barnstaple, where Devon food and drink can be promoted, and3. An arcade featuring a range of smaller quality shops. There are at least eight strong reasons against the proposed 40,000 square foot superstore. 1. A store of this size would destroy most of our local retail businesses. The location on the far side of the main road would not encourage linked shopping trips, and the competition would be unfair to local traders.2. Building a superstore on the estuary would not be compatible with our desire to promote Exmouth as a gateway to the Jurassic Coast. It would be totally out of character with the natural environment. 3. New building development on the floodplain is folly at a time when rising sea levels are an accepted fact. This is especially dangerous at a time when there is pressure on our fire and emergency services.4. There would be an unacceptable increase of traffic on the Exeter Road and a massively increased demand for additional parking on what must surely be described as the fringe not the heart of the central business district.5. The cost and energy waste of destroying a perfectly adequate sports centre and then rebuilding it yards away cannot be justified. A new sports centre has never been high on the town's priority needs, and the present one was built fairly recently with considerable community support. The money and time expended on this unnecessary exercise is not conducive to the regeneration of the town.6. There is a need for a larger library in the town, but the proposed one is neither big nor central enough. The new library should be on the ground floor, with handy parking to assist the elderly and disabled and school parties and facilitate easy delivery and transfer of book stock.7. When we are considering the regeneration of the town, we need to give primacy to its character and endeavour to promote its best assets. Exmouth's glory is its seascape. First consideration should therefore be given to developments which enhance rather than diminish access to the sea and beaches. Holidaymakers do not choose the resorts with the biggest supermarkets. Our retail sector might, however, be improved by the promotion of local produce in a market hall and a wider range of craft and gift shops.8. An estuary development of this kind has been firmly rejected by Exmothians whenever they have been consulted. Recent examples include Unlocking Exmouth, the petition to parliament, the referendum, the Vision for Exmouth, and the vote by members of the Exmouth Chamber of Commerce. Jenny and Noel Harrower, Ground Floor Flat,6 Lyndhurst Road, Exmouth.LESS SPIN IN LETTERS, PLEASECan we have a little less spin printed in your letters page from the company promoting the ASDA development? This spin is very obvious to most of us serious readers who have noted that letters from people way outside of the area are not only printed by your paper, but are a very thinly disguised effort to show how good and virtuous are the developers. The letter from the Macmillan nurse, having also been printed in numerous local papers around the country, was printed at a very opportune time, together with the latest letter from the developers themselves blowing their own trumpet, are cases in point. Please, Mr Editor, keep the letters pages for genuine readers and correspondents and allow the developers to have an input through their press releases, which you can use anyway. Roger Allen,(via email).EDITOR'S NOTE: you are entitled to your opinion, but it is only fair that companies and people have a right of reply. I am sure many readers will be interested in the responses from ASDA over such a controversial issue.PLEASE DON'T SELL US OUTShame on our councillors for supporting the proposed new Asda superstore. The proposed siting of a supermarket with flats on this sensitive area is nothing short of a scandal. This area is a triple Site of Special Scientific Interest.How do you think the birds will react to a supermarket with huge lorries, increased traffic, bright lights, pollution and crashing supermarket trolleys? The siting of this store on such an environmentally sensitive area should never be allowed due to the huge impact it will have on the wildlife and the people who live in the surrounding area. If this development is allowed to go ahead, Exmouth as we know it will be gone forever. We will lose our bakers, butchers, greengrocers and all the other independent retailers as Asda swallows up their trade. Asda representatives will tell you they have statistics to prove this is not correct, but do you honestly believe people who shop in Asda will walk into town to buy their meat, vegetables, toiletries, books and clothes when they can buy it all under one roof for less money? Of course they won't. Our councillors should listen to their constituents and try to come up with a more imaginative and less environmentally damaging way to raise money and not sell us out on the promise of a new library and sports centre.Graham Richardson,Albion Street, Exmouth.CONCERNED OVER EXTRA TRAFFICYour recent articles in the press about the proposed Asda store in Exmouth are disconcerting and I can understand the various pros and cons in the debate. One major concern, however, which appears to have been overlooked completely, particularly in the media debate, is the extra traffic on the main road from Exeter to Exmouth. Currently, this is an extremely busy road - this will only become exacerbated by more lorries bringing in goods along this road. Currently, the nearest Asda store is Taunton, so it is likely that not only will the people of Exmouth be visiting, but also from surrounding areas, including Sidmouth, Budleigh, Exeter etc. If Asda are to be granted planning permission for this store, not only should they have to provide a new leisure centre and library facilities, as currently promised, but also upgrade the road into the town to avoid the sort of disruption and damage that any new development will undoubtedly cause to existing older properties along the main Exeter to Exmouth or Budleigh to Exmouth roads. Perhaps some further investigation into this aspect of the planning should be carried out.I can understand an organisation such as Asda wanting to get a foothold in this area of the south west and I can see where they could be a useful addition to the current supermarkets, such as Tesco, Sainsbury and Somerfield. What I fail to understand is the concept of building at what is effectively the end of a cul-de-sac. Anybody coming from anywhere will have to go back along the same route, or a similar 'B' road to get back home. If they built at somewhere like Sowton, Marsh Barton or other industrial estates around Exeter, the all round client base would be far greater, without the huge impact on a relatively minor road. Will property owners be able to gain compensation from Asda if their properties are undermined by the constant and increased rumble of heavy lorries?Irene Wright,(via email).Reading the Journal of January 24 about the possibility of an ASDA and the letters sent in so far, I cannot wait another 12-18 months before it becomes clearer what will happen.When all this was suggested less than two years ago, there were lots of objections and a lot of people marched in favour of keeping Exmouth town centre and the riverside unspoilt. A massive new development such as ASDA supermarket would spoil Exmouth, it was argued.Then, the council rejected the plans for a superstore and I can remember reading the plan was at an end and that nothing more than a smaller supermarket would be considered - and, at best, food only. All went quiet, but then I read just before Christmas 2007 that all this was back on the table; a massive superstore for ASDA, a new library, a new sports centre and other projects proposed, which would be paid for eventually by the supermarket owners.As well as all this, I have read no details of what the new bus and rail interchange will cost and who is paying. It is early days, but people need to be aware there is more to agreeing a superstore than just talking up such a proposal.Would such an ASDA in the centre of Exmouth be such a good idea, as some would have us believe? I do not know yet and people will have to make up their own minds nearer the time but, unlike the views of a lot of the councillors involved, the contractors and ASDA themselves, as a resident of Exmouth I feel my views would be accepted by many others.This plan for a superstore has risen its head again because, after many years of waiting for a new library, sports centre and Jurassic Coast Visitors' Centre, to mention but a few, the councillors can only deliver these by allowing a large superstore scheme to go ahead.However, will such a superstore selling more than just food have any detrimental effect on the town centre? I have always been convinced the answer is yes. How can small and medium size businesses survive when such a big neighbour as ASDA is selling a lot of what they sell?There is no proof that a large supermarket in the centre of Exmouth will draw in more people to the town. Not everyone who visits this area is looking for such a large monstrosity in the centre of the town.People visiting by rail will not want to walk the extra distance from the site of the new rail station into town or to the beach - and they certainly will not visit twice if all they find is a large supermarket and plenty of empty shops.Robert Blyth,61 Normandy Close, Exmouth.

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