ASDA would increase choice

PUBLISHED: 02:01 30 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:11 10 June 2010

A recent letter from Keith Mellor - ASDA: I'm unsure of the 'benefits' (Journal, June 12) - contains a number of inaccuracies. I would like to take this opportunity to address these. The writer is in agreement that the out-of-town supermarket pulls peopl

A recent letter from Keith Mellor - ASDA: I'm unsure of the 'benefits' (Journal, June 12) - contains a number of inaccuracies. I would like to take this opportunity to address these.The writer is in agreement that the out-of-town supermarket pulls people away from the town centre to the detriment of independent businesses and the local economy. Surely then, given this, he would welcome a development that will bring people back into the town centre. This is especially important at a time when the out-of-town supermarket is proposing to substantially increase the size of its store.The area we are proposing to regenerate is consistent with national (PPS6) and regional (East Devon Local Plan) planning policy. PPS6 states that the development of food retail should take place in town centres first, should suitable sites be available. If no suitable sites are available, supermarket operators must then develop on 'sequentially preferable' sites - those that are as close to the town centre as possible. In line with this policy, East Devon District Council has identified the bus depot site as the most sequentially preferable for development in Exmouth. The aim of this policy is to use new food retail developments to revitalise local economies and regenerate town centre and edge-of-centre sites. 'Linked trips' to independent business are one of the policy's mechanisms to provide economic benefits to local independent town centre businesses. The out-of-town supermarket does not facilitate such trips.The 350 new jobs that our proposals would create should not be dismissed. The opportunities that would be on offer will be both full and part-time. We also have a number of flexible working arrangements for our colleagues that are popular with, for example, parents with young children.The writer's comment about the two hours maximum stay at our Newton Abbot store's car park is also misleading. While the initial £1 charge provides a maximum of two hours stay, users of the car park can return to their vehicles and pay an additional £1 for a further two hours parking. The charging scheme for a supermarket car park is a planning condition placed on the operator of the store by the Local Planning Authority. In addition, our car parks are monitored to ensure they are not abused by people parking unlawfully.A detailed traffic and infrastructure assessment is a mandatory requirement of any planning application. This will, in addition to analysing the current movement of vehicles on the local road network, provide an expert assessment of the perceived increase in vehicle movement and any requirement for associated highways improvements.Contrary to the writer's suggestion, the ASDA Exmouth website contains all of the current factual information about our regeneration proposals. We are also in the process of updating the ASDA Exmouth website with all of the questions we have received and our responses.ASDA would like to bring modern facilities to Exmouth, increase the product and service choice available to the community and secure the future of Exmouth's town centre as a vibrant shopping destination. We will announce the dates of the public consultation in the next few months and look forward to discussing our proposals in more detail with the community.Chris Marlow,Property Communications Manager, ASDA.

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