ASDA – what will be the size?

PUBLISHED: 16:01 21 December 2007 | UPDATED: 15:53 09 June 2010

The Exmouth Community Association has noted with interest the new and positive approach, reported in the Journal on December 13, towards producing much-needed developments in the town.

The Exmouth Community Association has noted with interest the new and positive approach, reported in the Journal on December 13, towards producing much-needed developments in the town.

We share the concern of the town and district councils to raise the level of trading and facilities in the town centre and we wish to be constructive in our response.

The bus depot is not our preferred site, although we did give it serious consideration, as detailed in our report published in November. Among the strengths we saw for this site were its location close to transport, parking and the central business district, the prospect of linked trips to the sports centre, pool and other community facilities, the opportunity to create a piazza through to the Strand Gardens and encouragement to local specialist shops to develop.

Among the weaknesses of the bus depot site we listed the substantial investment required to redesign the transport hub and reroute Marine Way so that any developments are not cut off from the town centre by an even busier road, plus the increase in traffic flow and parking problems. These points do not seem to have been addressed. We also said that it would be detrimental to the town not to limit the size of any supermarket to our preferred 26,000 sq ft.

It is this last and vitally important point which is not addressed at all in the press release and which we all need to consider, along with numerous other details, before we can come to an informed view about the merits of the proposal. Our principal concern is that a large supermarket will seriously damage the future of many town shops.

We hope that, in the spirit of East Devon District Council's Christmas leaflet, 'communities will be encouraged to come up with their own solutions rather than having them imposed by others'. So we trust that EDDC and ASM/ASDA will hold a public meeting very soon to explain the plans in enough detail to persuade us that this really is the best way ahead and that the town's shops will not be crushed by a large and aggressively competitive supermarket.

ECA will be holding a meeting in any case early in the new year for its members, where we shall be inviting presentations from EDDC and the developers.

Let us hope that we can have rational and well-informed consideration of the issues, aiming for a positive and progressive outcome without the stresses and negativity which surrounded the 'Unlocking Exmouth' proposals a couple of years ago.

Roy Pryke.

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