Cash boost if plans agreed

TESCO look set to expand after agreeing a financial package worth hundreds of thousands of pounds for the town.

TESCO look set to expand after agreeing a financial package worth hundreds of thousands of pounds for the town.The superstore plans will be decided by district planners next week at the development control meeting.If the supermarket giant is given the go-ahead it would see the store, in Salterton Road, expanding to 49,000 square feet, create 135 new jobs, build a cafe, refit the toilets, add disabled parking spaces, a new recycling facility and add new pedestrian and cycle networks.Planning officers are recommending councillors approve the expansion after East Devon District Council negotiated a package worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.It is normal practice for developers to make a financial contribution to improving community facilities to compensate for the loss of amenities.The contributions would include �150,000 towards the town centre regeneration and �150,000 towards bringing forward employment land.They have also offered doing off-site highways work to Salterton Road and a contribution of �100,000 towards upgrading bus route 98.The plans are identical to those filed in 2008 - however, in a two-pronged attempt, Tesco will continue its appeal to the application that was refused by district planners last year.They are hoping that the council will re-evaluate their decision following the withdrawal of plans for an Asda superstore.Tesco spokesman Harriett Kerr said: "Tesco's preferred route is for the council to grant the application, if they grant it then the appeal will be withdrawn."It saves costs to the council and to Tesco." However, Councillor Geoff Chamberlain said: "As I understand it, this new application is exactly the same as that which we refused some little time ago and is currently set to go to appeal at the end of May."Has our position been weakened by the recent Lidl decision?"I hate being blackmailed in this way."Councillor Eileen Wragg said: "This is a proposal from Exmouth's largest employer to expand and provide 135 full-time jobs within the local community at a time of high unemployment, with the forecast of more redundancies in the future, many of which fall within the retail sector.